If you have a strong friend, you should consider yourself lucky. Strong friends will always be there for you to pick you up after you fall. But bear in mind that being strong doesn’t mean being immune to pain.
If you’re not sure which one of your friends is the strong one, it’s probably the one you haven’t checked in on in a while. People who are outwardly strong often keep their pain inside, which is why it’s up to us to recognize the subtle signs of suffering and offer our support.
Here are 5 reasons you should check in on your strong friends.
1. They suffer in silence
Your strong friend is the one who never complains. The one who has their life together. The one everyone goes to when they need advice. But none of this means they aren’t suffering. It just means they’ve learned to keep the pain hidden from the world.
Don’t take your strong friend’s stoicism as a sign that everything is fine. Make sure you check in on all your friends regularly because you never know what they may be going through on their own. Just because they don’t ask for help doesn’t mean that they don’t need it.
2. They put on a brave face
The strong friend is the rock everyone leans on. To others, they seem invincible. It’s as if life’s trials and tribulations simply don’t affect them in the same way as the rest of us. But don’t forget that appearances can be deceiving. At the end of the day, your strong friend is still just a human.
So many of us have been taught to put on a brave face and just get on with it. This is why it’s so important to show genuine interest in your friends’ wellbeing. Ask them how they’re feeling, listen carefully when they talk, and don’t downplay their feelings.
3. They use humor to mask the pain
The link between humor and depression has long been established. People often use humor as a defense mechanism against painful emotions. That friend who always jokes around and doesn’t seem to have care in the world may easily be carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that all people who are naturally funny use humor to hide some deeper issues. But it doesn’t mean they’re blissfully happy either, so don’t forget to check in on your strong and funny friend.
4. They hide behind success
Another reason why we don’t check on our strong friends as nearly as often as we should is that our strong friends seem to have it all figured out. But the truth is that successful people are more prone to depression.
So don’t measure your friends’ wellbeing based on their career accomplishments or the size of their bank account. Remember that mental health problems don’t discriminate and someone’s outward success doesn’t necessarily equal that person’s happiness.
5. They don’t want to let you down
People who have spent most of their lives being the shoulder to cry feel that if they complain about their own problems, they will disappoint their friends.
Those who are the pillars of their friend group often think that being vulnerable in front of others is a sign of weakness. They are either afraid of being judged and perceived as inadequate or simply don’t know how to verbalize their emotions.
Make sure you let your strong friends know that vulnerability makes relationships stronger. At the end of the day, showing weakness is difficult and only the emotionally-strong among us are willing to embrace it.