Getting Off the Emotional Roller Coaster

“Just get off the ride.” 

That’s what a very wise friend told me this week. It was some of the best advice I ever received.

I was explaining the plight of another friend who has A LOT of drama in her life. Her relationship, her boss, her roommate… everything seemed to be falling apart for her, and she unloaded it on me. Over and over again. She is a close friend, so I listen, I make time to have coffee with her, and I try to be as available as possible, because she’s going through a difficult time. But it was getting to me. So I was telling another friend that this situation was stressing me out.

“So just get off the ride,” was her response. “Jor, it’s her roller coaster, not yours.”

“But I want to be a good friend,” I replied.

“You are,” she continued, “but you don’t have to ride the ups and downs with her. You just have to stand at the ticket counter and make sure she gets off safely. Every now and then tell her to hold on, even enjoy the ride, but you don’t have to take it with her.”

She’s right. The visual of that metaphoric roller coaster has saved some of my sanity. I honestly employ this and have been a better friend since. I know when to just listen and not scream on her way down. I know not to get anxious before a big drop and trust that her plummet will eventually slow and even out. I’ve learned to have faith that her ride will eventually stop because I can see the end even while she’s still on it. It’s not always a fun ride for her, but it’s hers, and I’m just there to watch and buy her a beer when she gets off. We all have our own roller coaster, and God knows we can’t ride more than one at the same time.

This week, I wish you a fun ride with a good friend to cheer for you on the way up, trust in you on the way down, and have some change in their pocket for a drink when your ride is over.

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