Check Up On Your Strong Friend. They’re Usually The One Bleeding In Silence

While this article is vastly different than most all that I write, I hope you’ll take the time to read it, as this deals with a topic that’s rarely discussed but which needs to have a light shown on it.

Recently, I posted on Facebook a beautiful and exquisitely written article, with amazing insight, by an unknown author (seemingly whoever is the administrator of Healthy Food House), entitled “Check Up On Your Strong Friend. They’re Usually The One Bleeding In Silence.” Before reading the rest of this article, please read it.

After posting it, an extremely dear friend wrote me and said “[i]f you ever find [an identical] article on ways to check in on men without emasculating them, please send it my way. It would be good to share with my friends.” I was somewhat taken aback. Although I did notice the use of “she” and “her” in some portions of the article, it never occurred to me that it wouldn’t apply to men and women alike. Yet, my dear friend, who knows more about “holding space” and being able to communicate in truly neutral, non-confrontational ways then I ever will, believed it to be very different. She was truly concerned that checking in on a “male Strong Friend” in the same manner as the article articulates, could be offensive or worse.

In my experience, a true “male Strong Friend” does not have a fragile ego that would ever be emasculated by another individual, regardless of friendship and gender, asking if he were ok or letting him know that you care and are there for him. Yet, I understand some, like my dear friend, may be worried about doing such without support and potentially jeopardizing their friendship with that perceived “Strong Friend.” So, let me be that support and if I’m wrong, blame me (but please, don’t tell Attorney General Shapiro that I was wrong…as far as he need be concerned, I’m always right, but I digress…). Sending a message saying “hey, how are you doing?”, “hey, you’ve been taking on a lot lately, I’m here to help, if you ever need a hand”, or “hey, I know you’re always there for and helping everyone else. Know if you ever need someone, I’m always here for you” are ALL PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE and do not emasculate a guy, especially a true “male Strong Friend.”

We are all in this together – some of us are just far better at carrying the cross than others. Perhaps more importantly, while many see carrying the cross for others as a burden, a true “Strong Friend”, regardless of gender, gains strength, meaning, and virtue by carrying those crosses for others. The carrying of those crosses shapes their character, moral compass, and meaning in life. It gives them the purpose they strive for – to help those, who in their time of need, cannot do it for themselves. There is truly no better expression to sum it up than “Hold my beer, stand out of the way, I got this for you.”

BUT, “Strong Friends”, regardless of gender, as the article recounts, are FAR from invincible; yet, they will not display their vulnerability to anyone. (There are an infinitesimally small group of individuals that they will disclose their vulnerability to, but those are generally only other “Strong Friends” and those who they trust, unconditionally). They may be carrying the crosses of 25-50 people and look emotionally, psychologically, and physically fit on the outside, but are hemorrhaging on the inside. They too need and yearn for compassion and love to cauterize the bleed, but will never reach out for it.

Thus, if you know someone, who you believe to be a “Strong Friend”, regardless of gender and regardless of whether they’ve been there for you, reach out. Let him/her know you’re there and that he/she is not alone. That, in and of itself, will mean more to that “Strong Friend” than you will ever know.

6 thoughts on “Check Up On Your Strong Friend. They’re Usually The One Bleeding In Silence

  1. Don’t wait until the holidays either. This is a year round issue.

    It’s simple really. Thank them for being a friend. Be present. If they have helped you in the past, tell them. Be present.

    Most likely that will be enough. But you might also need to be strong,because it’s much harder for them if they feel you are burdened.

    Its worth the effort, and you need to make sure they know that.

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  2. Don’t wait until the holidays either. This is a year round issue.

    It’s simple really. Thank them for being a friend. Be present. If they have helped you in the past, tell them. Be present.

    Most likely that will be enough. But you might also need to be strong,because it’s much harder for them if they feel you are burdened.

    Its worth the effort, and you need to make sure they know that.

    ..

    Like

  3. Great article, something to think about always.
    Yes, even strong men sometimes need help with PTSD or other problems in their life. A wife, a close friend, your Church members, or your God, which if where I start first. I get great comfort from my Bible and pople of faith.

    Like

  4. Sometimes just “leaving the door open” for someone can be enough for that person to feel safe, to share. Listening without judgement, without condescension—that can help “the strong” so much.

    Like

  5. I never know what to say. I mean, how do you break the ice with depression? I’m always afraid if I say too much, it will buy me a one way ticket to a 302 warrant. I was diagnosed with job related PTSD in 2015, but it’s mostly controlled. Occasionally something hits when I’m not alone and I have to exit quickly. Mostly it happens when I’m alone, just a sudden empty feeling, racing heart a I burst into tears. Not tear up, but bawling. Then I’m okay for a while, I have friends, support, but they’re the sit across the table type, not the embrace and let it out type. I’ve become really good being fine, except I never smile. I refuse to fake happiness.

    Like

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