Celebrate Your Friends’ Successes Like Your Own
Your friend starts working with a direct sales company. Another friend brings home a kitten. Some other friend is planning a gender reveal for her parakeet while another one is embarking on his five hundredth marathon.
We don’t all celebrate the same things.
I have friends who’d rather be tortured than run a half marathon, and yet I love running those races. I know people who don’t like pets and people who literally throw birthday parties for their fur babies. We all have things we’re randomly excited about that mean something to us. Hobbies, relationships, seasons, plans.
So, instead of being the friend who makes derisive comments or tries to temper that enthusiasm with a dose of reality, we can be the kind of friend capable of supporting and celebrating other people — even when we don’t get why they’re so excited about the things they love.
So, why do we, as a society, have a habit of looking down on what other people love?
If you know me, you probably know I’m going to call out the patriarchy and misogyny for at least a portion of this kind of behavior. You can’t scroll through social media without seeing quotes and memes pitting women against each other. While I’m sure there exist tons of the same thing about men, I don’t think it’s nearly as prevalent.
Some of them imply that being a woman interested in makeup and fashion is somehow less than being one who reads — as if we can’t wear makeup, love fashion, and read all at the same time. Or quotes indicating that being interested in Taylor Swift is so much less cool than loving whatever underground emo artist is currently making waves. Then there are the dating memes where it’s apparently preferable to be the kind of outdoorsy girl who enjoys a picnic under the stars versus a fancy evening out — as if we are better or worse for the things that bring us joy.
Expand the idea outside of gender norms, and you see it everywhere. People are celebrating the things that bring them joy, and someone is out there waiting to pop that particular balloon.
Would it really hurt us to celebrate all our friends for their accomplishments?
Maybe there’s a little bit of a bee in my proverbial bonnet because I recently had a book come out, and sometimes it feels like crickets with my larger network. Maybe they’re tired of hearing about it as if my enthusiasm should have had a shelf life. But the truth is that getting published has been a life-long dream, and it took a lot of hard work. It’s kind of a big deal.
It would only take a minute to share it with friends, and there have been tons of pay periods between my first announcement and now to order a copy. It’s not a little thing, and I’ve appreciated every single person who’s realized what a big deal it is and has celebrated with me.
But then I wondered if I’m always an enthusiastic supporter of my friends.
I think most of the time I am. But I wonder if there have been times when I noticed someone’s enthusiasm and simply kept scrolling rather than taking a second to celebrate it with them. I love holidays and general celebrations, so why wouldn’t I take the time to mark the moment? It doesn’t take much time, and it could be meaningful to that person.
It only takes a second to put a heart on a selfie — even if it’s the eighth selfie they’ve taken in a day because they feel really good about themselves and want to share that. Or to leave a quick comment when someone announces a positive development in their life or shares something they’re enthusiastic about.
It takes about a second to share a post from our writer friends or artist friends or direct sales friends. Even if we can’t, for some reason, afford to make a purchase, we can still share their work with others, leave them reviews, or even cheer them on from the sidelines. We can show up and say that we care and that we appreciate that they love what they love.
I think maybe I’ve just been phoning in my friendships sometimes. I think I could stand to step up my game and be more of a supporter of all the random things that the people I know and love enjoy. I think I can do better than just scrolling past their big news like it doesn’t matter.
Of course, sometimes we do this because of self-care.
Being a cheerleader can get exhausting, too. We get to take breaks. We don’t have to hold ourselves to lifting everyone else up 24/7. Sometimes, we need to be the ones lifted up, which could mean asking for support during a hard time. We can let other people be the ones who show up for us. Even if only some of them do, we can appreciate the ones who did with all our hearts.
And when we’ve rested and are in a better place, we can make a conscious effort to level up our friendships rather than just phoning them in.
This doesn’t just have to apply to our friends.
It takes as long to tear someone down and make them feel small as it does to build them up. Maybe we should be the person who performs random acts of kindness or compliments the people we see (not cat-calling; that is not complimentary). Maybe we should take a second while scrolling through social media to celebrate other people. To let them know that we love their enthusiasm or appreciate their content.
Maybe we can be the kind of people who make people feel better about their day, not worse.
Celebrating other people shouldn’t be something that annoys us. It should be all about sharing and spreading joy.
So you knitted your sixth cat a sweater? Yay you!
So you ran your slowest time but finished the race? Great job!
So you finally managed to save $50 and open a savings account? You’ve got this, and you’re doing great!
It’s not about being patronizing or even about making everyone else feel better. It’s about celebrating our friends because we love them. It’s about sharing joy.
I think I can afford to level up and be a better friend. Can you?
If you enjoyed this, check out:
Your Strong Friend Gets Tired
I’m drowning in overwhelm, but speaking up requires more energy than I have right now.