Friends as Thought Creators

When we are upset, why do we call a friend?  I thought about this yesterday when a friend called me to tell me how upset she was.  After we talked for about 20 minutes (not coaching, just chatting) she told me she felt so much better.  I hung up the phone and thought about why.

I know I don’t have the power to make her feel better, so why did she, in fact, feel better?  What was it about our conversation that changed her feelings? Then it occurred to me: I had given her new thoughts to think.

I had created better feeling thoughts and passed them over to her like a tray of appetizers.  She came to the conversation with these thoughts:

I am so dumb.
I can’t figure this out.
I don’t know if I should trust her.
I can’t do this alone.

I gave her these thoughts to consider-just by saying them out loud:

You are crazy smart.
You can totally figure this out.
You don’t have to work with her if you don’t want to
You can do this alone, but you don’t have to.

I wasn’t even meaning to help her change her thinking, I was just calling it like I see it.  But I believe somewhere in that conversation she listened to what I was saying and decided to try one of those thoughts out.  As she thought the new thoughts, she felt better.  What’s even cooler is that I gave her instant evidence that the new thought was true by showing her my conviction in the statement.

Amazing!  This is why we love our friends so much. They give us thoughts that make us feel good, and they believe them, which makes it easier for us to believe them ourselves.

So, next time you need a friend and she isn’t available, think about what she might say to you.  Write it down even. Then try the thoughts out and see how they feel.  It will never replace hearing them directly from her-but it might tide you over until you can get her on the phone.