Right now, several of my friends are having difficulties that they have to face all by themselves. Each of them is a very strong woman, although they have all had their doubts lately. All of them would rather be with someone than alone, but all of them are learning to treasure their independence and value time spent alone.
Although they are perfectly capable of solving their problems, they all like to ask for advice, and they listen carefully when it is offered, even if they decide not to take it. But what they all want, without exception, is for someone to take their hand or give them a hug and whisper in their ear that everything will be all right in the end. They don’t really want or need anyone to solve their problems for them. They want the opportunity to solve their own problems. But they all want someone to give them encouragement, give them a pep talk once in a while, tell them that they are on the right track. They just want someone to believe in them. And they all want to be able to express their feelings without being told that they are emotional cripples, or that they think too much.
Very few men know how to give support without feeling obliged to fix the problem once and for all. Most guys have trouble believing that a woman would actually want to solve her own problems, once a solution has been offered. Even those who have learned to let go and let the women in their lives be problem-solvers sometimes seem to feel uneasy with the way the women go about arriving at a solution.
That’s why women generally take their problems to other women. They know that the other woman will commiserate with them and hear them out. They know that their girlfriend, sister, mother, or daughter will not offer to solve the whole problem, even though they might suggest some possible solutions or next steps. In fact, even women who are in a relationship with a man will often take their troubles to another female, rather than confide in the man in their life.
By the time summer rolls around, I predict that each of these women will have solved her problem or at least made a good start on the solution. They won’t solve their problems the same way a man would, and they won’t necessarily do what I would do, either. But they will all find a solution that is suitable and right for them. In the meantime, I stand ready to take their hand, give them a shoulder to cry one, or give them a hug. Since none of them lives near me, I will have to do this via Facebook, Skype and text message. I will keep on telling them that they are doing just fine, and that I believe in them. I will tell them that I share their pain, because I have been in the same position, or a similar one. I will support them and cheer them on. And I will tell them that everything is going to be all right. 🙂