Amid the constant flurry of activity that our day-to-day is composed of, we tend to overlook and forget things. Little things like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, or medium-sized things like compliments and concern, or big things like compassion and empathy. Perhaps we tend to push these things aside because we feel like they don’t need to be spoken, as if somehow through the magic of osmosis, our friends, families and acquaintances will just know that we understand.
But there’s this other group of people who don’t think quite in this way. The people who are willing to tell you that you look good, who are game enough to understand the troubled look on your face, and who are brave enough to put an arm around your shoulder when you’re quietly sobbing after watching My Best Friend’s Wedding and fearing eternal spinsterhood. These people are the soul-hugging, rage-calming human equivalent of chocolate ice-cream: your sensitive friends.
Your sensitive friends are the ones who are willing to listen. Whether face-to-face or a 4 hour midnight Skype session, your sensitive friends are ready to take on the burden of your problems, whatever they may be. Being an emotionally immature clod, my immediate response when upset tends to be muffled sobs and a vertiginous whyyyyy. My reaction is usually always the same, give or take a reflex to grab a large block of cheese. But sensitive friends are there to understand and ease frustrations.
In comparison, we can receive empty gestures, ineffective responses, or words that can just leave us feeling more alienated and misunderstood than before. So where would we be without these kind sensitive souls? If everyone had, in the words of Hermione Granger, the “emotional range of a teaspoon”, who would be there to ease our trials and tribulations, and to just say that it will be ok?
In a way, what’s sad is that, really, there is no kind of reward for the work of the sensitive friend. There is no medal for bravery or hall of fame to induct the individual who stands by their friend’s side as they embark on various adult tasks like seeking professional medical help instead of Googling discolouration on upper arm. There is no honorary society for the individual that encourages you to avoid stepping into a COS store and buying anything with the 30% off sticker. And there’s no jackpot prize for the individual who tries to make you feel better after a bad day.
So to the sensitive individual who listened to a 3 and half hour story about a bad day at work: this is for you. To the sensitive individual who answered the phone at 2am to muffled sobs: this is for you. To the sensitive individuals who single-handedly managed to persuade their friends that linoleum clothing isn’t for everyone: this is for you. This ode is for the sensitive people out there who are willing to ask, to listen and to care. And maybe even share some cheese with you.