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We All Need Someone To Lean On

May 01, 2024

By My Growing Pains

One of my favorite songs is Lean on Me by Bill Wathers. I love the lyrics “you just call on me brother when you need a hand, we all need somebody to lean on”. It’s a great song with a very real message. No matter how introverted a person can be, in times of celebration or sorrow, we all need someone to share these moments with. And this is coming from an introverted person themselves.

We, as people, are social creatures who rely on one another to survive. Does this mean you need a million friends to be satisfied, no. Personally, I have two great friends that I rely on and rely on me. That’s all I need.

In a friendship between two people, there are few things that are out of your control. How someone chooses to react to something typically has nothing to do with you. Do not try to control your friends. Focus on what you can control.

So, how can you be a good friend?

  • 1. Respect and Establish Boundaries
  • 2. Be Kind and Welcoming
  • 3. Hold Yourself Accountable
  • 4. Be Trustworthy
  • 5. Be Safe
anatomy of check

Respect and Establish Boundaries

To some, nothing is off limits in friendships. This misconception can make it difficult for some as it causes them to think their friends don’t respect their autonomy or privacy.

On the other hand, there are those who do not let their friends know how they want to be treated. This is just as unfortunate because people cannot read minds. You need to establish boundaries and respect your friends’ boundaries.

To establish boundaries, sit your friend down and let them know in a calm manner what you do not like, how you feel when they do something like that, and what will happen if they continue to step over that boundary.

Example: your roommate/friend keeps coming into your room without knocking. This is wrong because it’s intruding on your privacy and it’s disrespectful to you. You would establish the boundary by saying something along the lines of “ friend, when you burst into my room without knocking, it makes me feel like you do not respect my privacy. Please knock and wait for a reply before you come in. If this continues, I will put a lock on my door”.

Be Kind and Welcoming

It’s simple, no one can wholly rely on someone that does not emanate a welcoming presence. There’s a difference between having a RBF than just being rude and abrasive. An unwelcoming person can be someone who dismisses you every time you try to talk to them about something that is important to you.

So do not become that person. If a friend comes to you and wishes to divulge personal information to you, listen to them. Ask them how you can help them before you start giving advice. Some people just want someone to listen to them, whereas others are seeking advice. Be sensitive and self-aware.

Hold Yourself Accountable

Being able to hold yourself accountable when you are in a friendship is a great skill to have. When you upset your friend, you should hold yourself accountable, acknowledge your actions and impact, and apologize.

Hold yourself accountable when you flake on your friends without proper notice. The more you hone down this skill, the easier it is to gain and keep the trust of your friends.

Be Trustworthy

Have you ever had a friend reveal a secret of yours to people? Have you ever had someone close to you gossip about you? It’s not a good feeling right?

Being a trustworthy person is being a person with dignity. If someone you love comes up to you and tells you something in confidence, do not repeat that thing to other people. You may not have the whole story and may cause turmoil in that person’s life.

Do not gossip about your friends either. People are not stupid, no one is going to come to you and feel comfortable around you when they know that’s what they’ll get. Gossiping is negative for all parties involved.

Be Safe

Rely on your gut. Friendships can change randomly. Some friends can be filled with envy towards you, so be attentive and be safe.

If you feel something is off, trust yourself and remove yourself from the situation as quickly and amicably as possible.


As you get older, your opinions will change as will your life circumstances. It’s okay if some friendships die. Not many things last forever and that’s okay. Don’t sacrifice your well-being to maintain something that is dying. Be thankful and move on.

Friendships are a great thing to have in times of need. Be a good friend and you can and will get a good friend.

Written by Doreen Chirwa · My Growing Pains