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  • Michelle Haskell

TO KNOW HOW //

Over the Christmas holiday, one of my friends had shared an article titled, “Check Up On Your Strong Friend. They’re Usually The One Bleeding in Silence” from Healthy Food House, and additionally, tagged one of her friends in it, who unfortunately took her own life earlier this month.


As we were looking at the friend’s photos on Facebook, my husband asked if I knew her, and I hadn’t. But dang, I sure felt like I did. I could’ve told you she was beautiful, she dressed nice, wore nice jewelry, was a ranch wife, mother of two adorable young boys, a nurse. Appeared to have a lot of friends, a lot of friends who respected and idolized her. She seemed healthy and active, and more importantly… happy. She seemed to have the world at her fingertips. She looked very similar to a lot of my own friends. She seemed like someone I would want to be friends with, someone who had a lot of fun, someone who enjoyed life, someone who would bring out the best in any situation, someone I could be envious of.


All of this from looking at a select few images on social media.


But the truth is – I didn’t know her. I didn’t know her at all. I didn’t know her story. I didn’t know anything about her.


It made me start to think about my own friends. Especially over the holidays. What they were doing. What their plans were. I know I looked at their Facebook pages, or watched their snapchat videos, or saw their favorite moments they posted to Instagram. I could tell you where most of them were, what their kids received as gifts, who they spent Christmas with, what they were wearing, and maybe even what they ate. They were more than likely smiling in their photos, so of course they had a great Christmas, they were all healthy and happy and doing wonderful.


All of this from looking at a select few images on social media.


But to be honest, I couldn’t tell you how they were doing. I mean, truly HOW they were doing. I might have sent a text here or there asking how ya doing and I’m sure I received a great, good, fine …. but the more I think about it – is someone who’s having a terrible day or month or year, going to say anything more than fine to a text message? It’s great if all my friends are happy, but what about those who are hurting? Or those who are struggling? Or those who might just be stuck in a rut? I’m sure I have several and I wouldn’t even be able to name one.


I started thinking about a select few friends… one who lost both of her parents within a year, one who just had a baby, one whose dad was diagnosed with cancer recently, one who has been struggling with infertility, and even those without any real issues – the ones living their best life and taking it day by day. With everything going on, how could they all be doing great, good, fine?


What I do know is – I’ve written my own story for them based on images I’ve seen on their social media pages. I’ve filled in the blanks on my own from a few additional text messages, as if I’ve personally talked with them, and I haven’t. I’ve created their happiness and made the assumptions they are doing just fine, because that’s what I want for them, and after all, they are my strong friends. Surely, they’re doing great. And of course, if they weren’t, they’d just pick up the phone and call me. But would they?


It breaks my heart to realize – I truly don’t know HOW any of them are doing. I’ve told them I’ve loved them and I’m thinking about them and I’m praying for them, but I haven’t done anything to show them I love them or care for them. I haven’t called them. I haven’t visited them. I haven’t taken them dinner, or sent them a card, or picked them flowers.


All of this from looking at a select few images on social media.


After thinking a lot about my friend who made the original post, it makes me realize – with all these means of communication – is anyone really communicating? With all the social media surrounding us, we are assuming everyone is okay. It visually appears everyone is doing well. But what is the truth? What are the photos not telling us? What is the real story?


//


With the upcoming new year – my resolution – is to know HOW. To reach out. To pick up the phone and call. To have real, meaningful conversations. To not let social media drive my connections with people. To not miss out. To show I care. To understand. To be supportive. To go out of my way. To be there. To show up. To do more. To love more. To be present. To listen. To listen harder. To know HOW.


So I ask you this – HOW are your friends doing? The happy ones. The sad ones. The weak ones. The strong ones.


//


Join me in my new year’s resolution - to know HOW.