Just Be Supportive

Katie Dunlavy, Lularoe boutique owner, of The Pearl Pages with a group of women in colorful dresses and skirts against a wall with green plants growing on it.

SO: I’ve learned something GRAND, friends. Something that will change all of your current and future relationships. Every relationship you have, whether it’s with your friends, spouse, children, neighbor, co-workers…are you ready for this?


I know you’re thinking, “Wow Katie, thanks for that groundbreaking insight,” BUT give me a moment to explain.

Ever been really excited about something but fearful of telling your friends or family? Maybe you’ve decided to leave your “stable career” for a risky new adventure. Maybe your dad’s a butcher and you’ve decided to become vegan. Maybe you want to quit baseball and join the ballet. Maybe you’ve decided to go back to college…again.

No matter the situation, when there’s change there’s both excitement and fear. You’re excited about this thing you’ve decided you want to do. And you’re terrified of whether you’re making the right choice. Life is scary! Factoring in the opinions of your loved ones should NOT add to your stress. These choices are hard enough.

When we decided to become foster parents we were stoked. But I was also TERRIFIED to tell my parents. I knew they wouldn’t initially be supportive and I didn’t want them raining on my parade. I knew they’d come around, but I also didn’t want to hear negativity about this very personal decision. I’m not trying to throw my parents under the bus here. They’re great parents, but they’re also a great example of what I’m saying about being supportive.

So during this big life change, I decided I will ALWAYS BE SUPPORTIVE of not only my children and family but of my friends and the others in my life. I’m going to support everyone the way I hope to be supported when I need it. Here’s what I mean:

Let’s say my daughter Iley is now a grown woman and she comes to me and says, “Mom, I’ve decided I want to join a nudist colony.” I PRAY, I PRAY TO HEAVEN ABOVE THIS WILL BE MY RESPONSE:

“Honey, what a change! Wow, ok, well let’s finish dinner so we can go get you plenty of sunscreen. You’re going to need it! Maybe we can get you some fun accessories. Some earrings, maybe a hat or two!”

Honestly, I want to be THAT PARENT. I want to be THAT FRIEND. Here’s the logic: I know Iley isn’t stupid. She’s my daughter and if I’ve done my part in raising her I know she’s thought this through. She’s weighed the pros and cons. And this is the decision she’s come to.

**Now let’s note: there’s a big difference between someone TELLING you their decision versus asking for your opinion. Obviously, if grownup Iley says, “Mom, how do you think I’d enjoy living in a nudist colony?” the conversation would go very differently.**

By supporting her, I’m showing her my love. By supporting her, I’m showing her respect. By supporting her, I’m giving her permission to fail and to learn from it. I know life at the nudist colony will come with its challenges. If I tell her I think it’s a bad idea, she won’t want to come to me on her hard days. She’ll be fearful of the “I told you so.” I don’t know about you, but I NEVER want my children or my friends to be fearful of coming to me on the hard days. I WANT to be there on the hard days.

And while we’re on the topic, let’s all stop with the I-told-you-so’s. That phrase brings NO JOY. It’s riddled with negativity. It builds walls and cuts you off from the people who trusted you enough to share with you. So, by not “telling them so”…one, you invite people to be open with you, allowing people to come to you on the best and the worst days, and two, you show LOVE!!! And isn’t that better for all of us?

So I leave you with this: if your BFF comes to you today and tells you they want to get a unicorn horn tattooed on their forehead, go with them! Buy them a rainbow cookie and celebrate this momentous occasion. That being said, you better be as supportive on the day they ask you for recommendations on tattoo removal.

Now let’s trade stories. Tell me about a time someone supported you in an unexpected way or how a relationship changed when someone didn’t support you. I love reading your comments! And if you’re not feeling supported, you know you’ve got me here, ready to ride along to the nudist colony or unicorn horn tattoo appointment. 



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: