Four words and a thousand different interpretations.
Sometimes, when people say “I’m here for you,” they mean “I’m here for a while, for an hour or an evening. You’re a generally good person and I enjoy your company and I know you have to vent right now, so I’ll listen; I’ll even bring the beers if you want. But I probably won’t stay the night.”
Sometimes, when people say “I’m here for you” they mean “I don’t know what else to say to your sad story. You floored me and I have absolutely no advice, nowhere to go from here. All I can do is sit here with you and absorb. Hope that helps.” Other times, “I’m here for you” means “I’m here for you but I’d rather not be, it’s just what you’re supposed to say in these situations so I don’t know. I’m offering, but I hope you don’t actually take me up on it.”
See? Different. Sometimes it means something, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the people who say it might as well be commenting on the weather, the brunch they just came home from. The words come out but they don’t resonate, emptied of their meaning, just tiny care word packages lasting across a synapse. And sometimes the people who truly mean it never say the words at all.
But when I say I’m here for you. I mean it. I mean it differently. Genuinely. Let me explain.
There’s a part of friendship that’s more than camaraderie and good feelings, more than having someone to hang out with all the time and bullshit with on lazy Saturday mornings. There’s a part of friendship, real friendship, that’s fierce love. The part marked by understanding, protection, sacrifice. The strong part. The selfless, human part. The part that would move your body in front of theirs to take a bullet without a blink or second thought.
And that’s why I want to tell you I’m here for you, because I am. Not in the therapist sense, not in the let’s talk about our crap boyfriends over martinis sense, but the real sense: I love you enough to make room for your pain in my heart and handle it like my own. Or better than my own, because my own usually ends up stuffed into a back corner of my brain and left there to ferment into a viscous, soul liquor. I’m here for you honestly, sometimes painfully so. I may not have firsthand experience with the exact thing you’re going through, but I know what it means to hurt. Hurt translates pretty well. I know what it’s like to feel silenced, shut down, wounded. To feel like there’s no one who really understands, or cares, or will even make the genuine effort, to feel like even talking about it is nothing but a pointless stirring of air. I care about you too much to make you feel that way alone. I may not give the best advice, or even moderately good advice, but I’m here for you.
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