POPSUGAR Australia has partnered with Libra to break the societal expectations, stigmas & taboos.
Everyone wants to be a good friend, but it shouldn't mean sacrificing your own mental health in the process.
According to a recent study by Libra, 91% of women feel society places pressure on them, and only 50% feel the freedom to do what they actually want. Team those two confronting statistics together and you have one very real dilemma.
It's a lot of expectations to manage for one person, let alone the entirety of your inner circle as well.
Of course you want to be there for your girls, but here's how you can do that and still look after your own needs to. We've all heard the face mask analogy, so, especially in the rollercoaster world we're living in, let's start putting it to practice.
Stop Saying You're 'Good Just Busy'
This is our crutch and our go-to response, even when we're not in fact 'good just busy' but just super stressed. As women we never want to be a burden, or heaven forbid, dampen the mood at brunch, but it's time we started being real and raw with our own emotions, because it opens up a platform for our friends to follow suit.
If your friend uses the avoidant one-liner? Probe deeper before letting them divert to the next topic. Ask them what could make their life easier right now, actively listen and let them know that everything they're saying is completely valid. By doing this, you're not only being a good friend but inviting similar responses for yourself. In time, hopefully it can put an end to this 'I'm fine!' song and dance we all do.
Don't Flake (If You Can Help It)
When that dinner-and-drinks catch up you arranged four weeks ago suddenly rolls around and you can't think of anything worse than being in public sans trackies, you've probably been guilty of the last-minute cancellation text. But what we're not taking into consideration is how that 'pesky' catch up to you could be the highlight of your friend's week.
As cliche as it is, honesty really is the best policy — let them know you're not feeling up to being in crowded spaces right now and offer a cheeseboard at yours instead. You'll both feel like a good friend and be able to be comfortable in a setting that helps your own mental health, too.
Set Healthy Boundaries
For someone whose life has been put on it's head (being stood down, moving temporarily back to my parents' house and eventually losing said job — cheers, 2020), it's been super important for my mental health to stick to my usual routine and see friends around those activities.
If I don't haul myself to the gym or miss my food shop, the next few days are a mess. I feel sluggish, can't concentrate and spend cash (more than i'm proud to admit) on food delivery, therefore I'm not much value IRL. Doing these things — my things — makes me more expressive, compassionate and present when I'm in a social setting. A win-win for all.
Universally, this is the top tier of what to never, ever do. The one thing all my amazing, brilliantly talented girlfriends have in common is the feeling of never being enough. The 'Yeah I'm glad to be getting a raise but I should have a house by now', or, 'I'm grateful to be having some time off but I should be sorting out my career' comparison is an unnecessary thief of joy and a surefire way to have you hauled up in your bedroom, watching crime shows, desperate for a serotonin boost.
Once I started being grateful for the small everyday luxuries I get to experience, like walking with a view, sitting in the sun listening to podcasts, Aldi $2.99 Sav B etc, I was too busy being appreciative of my own life to look into someone else's lane.
You do you.