There are many life events where support is required. And there’s a formula for it. You know what is expected. You do it.
Say your best friend gets engaged. Wonderful. This means you have a very defined role as a supportive friend. You send an engagement card (and wedding magazines), you go to the showers (or throw one), plan the bachelorette party, buy the bridesmaid dress and walk down the aisle with tears in your eyes. Sometimes you even have to give a speech. And you do it because, yes, it’s what you’re suppose to do, but really you’re happy for your friend.
But see, here’s the thing, when you start a business there is no blueprint for support. Nothing your friends and family are technically suppose to do. And, at times, it can feel kinda lonely.
Some “get it” and will send texts and emails, even fun mail (thank you C!) Others, well, you wonder if they have ever visited your website. Or maybe even worse, you know they read everything and never say anything (nice or otherwise) about it.
And being a photographer adds an extra layer of sensitivity to it because it’s your work. And your work is your heart and a little piece of your soul. (That might sound dramatic but it’s true.) So you start to think/believe that maybe they don’t like it?
And yet the reality of it could simply be that they have no idea what to do. Our culture hasn’t defined it. There are no dresses to buy or parties to plan. I doubt there is even one “Congrats you started a business” card in all the Hallmark shelves (but, hello, this is America, there should be an entire section).
(Here’s the point where I need to pause and say, I’m not writing this to be passive aggressive. I’m not writing this to guilt anyone into being supportive. I am doing it because I think it could help. I want to start a conversation about it and open some eyes. I want it to be discussed. Maybe someone will google something about supporting a friend and this will come up. Maybe, not. Either way it’s been mulling around in my head and my heart for a few months, enough that ignoring it felt wrong. So now I’m writing about it.)
So how can you be supportive? Well, just like love languages, I’m sure it varies for everyone but here are some ideas:
All of these things require only a small amount of time/money but they mean a lot.
It’s funny how life works. As I’ve been writing this post in my head for the past week (strange, I know) and I started to dwell on who could be a more supportive friend (not good, I know) and I was surprised by two very nice emails (one from someone I’ve never even met!) that made me feel very encouraged and supported. So it made me realize that support comes from many sources. Take it where you can get it. You can’t expect support from everyone (or anyone really). But it’s so nice when you get it.
Ok, now I feel better. Thanks for letting me share.