So a friend asked you for space.
Perhaps you should give it to them or perhaps NOT. Perhaps you shouldn’t assume what they are asking for is what they need. And especially if they are down, struggling or something seems amiss with them when you are around them.
Depression. Addiction. Tragedy. Abuse. Hopelessness. Despair.
Sometimes when people ask for space it’s that they can’t handle the downward spiral of life and isolation is becoming their only response. And what they really need but can’t ask for is face to face friendship and love and a a way to get real about what’s not working and find a safe place they can heal.
Today as I was working away on a project due on Monday a friend of mine walked into the coffee shop I was working at in Kirkland Washington. And it wasn’t an accident it was fate because you see this friend of mine is a new friend a friend I barely know and wouldn’t know at all had it not been for the tragic circumstance of a mutual friend of ours dying a while back when they were still in their early twenties.
I took a short break and instead of continuing to work I pushed my computer aside and invited my friend to sit down face to face to catch up on life. Our conversation was polite and all proper at the beginning but finally one of us dared and then it got real as each of us confessed of our guilt over not having done enough for our mutual friend.
How could I not- know? Why didn’t I get close enough to know the truth? How could I have assumed all was okay? He and I had the same questions.
Our friend had asked for more space and then more and finally she moved to get a new start and then one day she was no more. As we talked I shared the advice another friend had shared with me after confessing that once along time ago he had tried to take his own life.
He told me that you can’t assume that people know what they need especially when they are struggling with depression or any type of abuse, tragedy, crisis or addiction. He shared with me space is really code for face time. What most people need is more friends and loved ones demanding to see them and being a part of their life so they can be reminded of how vital, precious and incredible they are.
Depression, abuse, betrayal, despair and hopelessness – the answer isn’t more space. It’s a place to be real that is safe where people can start to heal, it’s being face to face with others who care and love you.
I love space and wide open swatches of quiet time and because of that I tend to think it’s normal when people I know ask for space or move away and semi-isolate themselves. But now I know better. Most of the time when people ask for space what they really want is face to face friendship and love that will never allow them to give up.
I want to be a safe harbor friend. I want to be the stranger who can go face to face with anyone and in the moment reflect the truth of the other person’s value and preciousness to them. I want to call a spade a spade and not look away or deny what is really going down in my friends and loved one’s lives. What if you and I refuse to give people space when what they need is a friendly face and a safe place to heal?
Did You Want Space Or Face Time?
Do you want space or is it time for a little face?