Being the “Fixer” Friend

As a person, I like to think I have a big heart. While I don’t always cry at movies or at sad or sappy articles like some people do, when it comes to my friends and family, I always want to help. So when a friend has a problem, I always strive to be there for them. I’m always willing to lend a hand or some advice. (I don’t think I’m the greatest at advice, BUT I am a great listener, and sometimes that’s all you need.)

But when there’s a problem that isn’t fixable for whatever reason–because it’s bigger than me, or because it’s not the right timing–I feel so helpless. Like when my friend has work troubles or personal troubles and they’re sobbing on the other end of the phone, and I can’t do anything other than say, “It’ll get better,” I feel so helpless. I know it’s not my responsibility to fix everything. I can’t fix everything and I know that. And I also know they’re not expecting me to fix everything–they just need an outlet, somewhere to rant, or a shoulder to cry on. But sometimes it just hurts my heart that I can’t do more to help.

I call this being the “fixer” friend. The desire to help or fix or resolve any issues loved ones’ lives. And it’s definitely me.

As I talked to a friend this past week about some issues she’s been having, I sat there wishing I could snap my fingers and everything would be okay. Every worry that she had or obstacle she was facing would instantly be gone and there would be this huge bright light at the end of the tunnel. But life doesn’t work like that–and it’s not designed to work like that. Sometimes you really need to give it all to God and let Him work it out. It’s hard. It’s incredibly hard to just lay everything in front of Him. And as the “fixer” friend it’s hard to sit back and watch the people you love go through something that you can’t touch even in the slightest. But sometimes, that’s what you have to do.

So for all of my “fixer” friends out there. It is OKAY. It is okay if you don’t have all the right words to say. It is okay that you can’t fix the problem for them. You can’t put a band-aid on it and pray that it will heal up the scar. You CAN, however, be there to lend an ear, or a hand, or a shoulder, to take them out for queso and margaritas and a movie. To take their mind off of it for a little while so they can get a little peace. No–it doesn’t fix everything, but it will ease their minds for a little while and hopefully let them think more clearly about any decisions they need to make. Sometimes they’ll want to talk about it, and sometimes they won’t. Whatever they choose, don’t press the conversation, let them lead.

This got a little deeper and rambling-er than I meant for it to get, so I hope I didn’t lose anyone! But I just want to tell everyone out there kind of on the same page as me that you’re not alone, you’re not the only one who feels like this, and that you simply BEING there for friends means more to them than anything else. So the next time you find yourself in this type of situation–don’t let it wear you down. It’s hard to let those feelings go. Trust me, I know. You might feel like a bad friend, or a failure, or helpless. But don’t let it. Just be there. And be all there. Listen. Advise. And let God do the rest.

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