A few years ago, a transition occurred in my life. They happen. Life is full of transitions. It was a catalyst for a life change for me that I will never regret. God took a normal evil and produces good for me and others every day. Life is good. Friend and family are wonderful. There are more transitions ahead.
How did friends handle this moment of transition?
One asked me, “Are you okay?” But, he was unprepared to follow through and doesn’t return phone calls.
One asked me, “How can I help?” And, encourages regularly and faithfully.
One asked me, “What happened?” But only wanted gossip.
One looked at me told me to get back and refuses my phone calls.
One denied all knowledge and deferred to others.
One listened and only responds at whim.
One thanked me for my service and faithfulness and expressed genuine regret.
One listened and asked for money from me for their business and offered no support.
One listened and asked me to join their multi-level marketing organization.
One looked at me, accused me, threatened me, and looked away.
One listened, extended compassion, extended support, and continues to followup.
One listened, connected me with meaningful service alongside them, and continues.
One spoke at me and refused to raise head or eye to make contact.
One never did anything.
One remains silent, not knowing what to say, but staying faithful in love and friendship.
It is interesting how people treat you in moments of change. All of these were “friends”, a few still are.
In all these cases, there is really more than one that responded this way.
As a friend, how do you respond? How do you support others? What is your motivation?
I’ve supported many transitions in organizations and families over 3 decades of management and community service. Some were my transition, some were transitions of others. Truthfully, these responses are typical in each transition. People like change and transition on their terms and their timing. People act all sorts of weird ways when they don’t understand or have demanding motivations driving them. They are normal ways people respond to change.
Each of these responses comes from either a motivation of self preservation, greed, control, power, loyalty, gratefulness, disinterest, encouragement, or compassion.
Each of these represents a person, to whom many hours and years of service and support and encouragement were extended and prior to the transition called me, “Friend”. How do you support your friends in transitions?
How should I respond to others in transition?
The golden rule still applies. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Though people may treat you many different ways, choose how you will treat others, now. Who in your sphere of influence has gone through a transition and could use a helping word or action to move forward? Don’t let the machinations of selfish desire dictate who you will be. Be the best of responders. Overcome normal evil with good.
Why do I say, “Normal evil?” Well, many times we categorize transition or change as something bad. It is not bad. It just is what it is. Without transition and change, we would stay the same. BORING! You can always put good interpretation or bad interpretation on a situation. You can always choose to accent the good or the bad. Choose.
Don’t be silent. People need to hear your voice and see you. How wonderful it was one day, when visiting a company to have one of those from a transition run up, hug me, and say how much they missed me. Yes, that is a grown adult response. A face to face handshake is powerful. A card in the mail is marvelous. An email of concern and encouragement is powerful. Silence communicates fear and distrust. Make a noise.
Don’t go away after you do one thing. How lonely you must be to only value a person when you see them in your space every day. That is not friendship, but convenience.
How should I respond to my transitions?
Close the Book: Today, I am closing the book on one particular series of events. I am putting it in my past. It has taken many months of processing and consideration. The people involved are important to me. They are more important than any event. Every day I have risen to the day, accepted new challenges, faced demons of disloyalty and dishonesty, and enjoyed company of compassion and concern. Today, I bury the history and have a memorial service. I’ll light a candle, raise a toast to blessing and health, and move on with life, love, and laughter. Someday, you need to grieve and go on. Don’t live in the past.
Celebrate: Today, I celebrate the freshness of friendships that encourage, support, listen, and walk alongside. There are some great people in the world, who understand and value friendship. There are some not so great people in the world, who only understand what they can get out of you for the moment. Be one of the greats in the face of the not so greats. Don’t let them get you down. There is too much of life to enjoy.