I often talk about how women need to support strong friends, particularly strong women of color. I also whine and, yes, complain about the lack of support that I receive as a strong friend. Yet my friends rarely understand what I mean when I say, “I wish I had support.”
This is usually what I get when I broach the subject.
“Sujeiry, you’re so resilient.” I nod in acknowledgement. I have a knack for bouncing back although it’s rarely as easy as a ball bounces back when it hits concrete. When I hit rock bottom emotionally, I scrape myself up off the floor, yes, but with a lot bruises and scars. Some have yet to heal.
“Girl, I admire you so much. You got this!” Another nod from me and a “thank you.” I’m grateful for the support and kind words that come from the mouth of loved ones and the strangers that slide into my DMs on Instagram. And I do got this, including a God-given talent for writing and storyteller. Plus, a desire to publish many books with a publishing house and to run a magazine on all things love. I did so in 2018 albeit without proper planning, strategy, and support.
Back to support, which is at the crux of this story. When I ask for it the response is often the same: “But I do support you, we all do.” I nod again because she/they are right. Some support the work that I produce by buying it. Others support my work by cheering me on (some of my friends don’t like to read and I’m a writer, so there’s that.) They all tell me they are proud of me. They share my work, if they are technically savvy enough. Again, I am very grateful. However, I am seeking something different in terms of “support.”
The True Meaning of Support
Let me explain by defining the word “support.” According to Merriam’s Dictionary, one definition is to “promote the interest of a cause.” I get that type of support, I receive it. The other is “to give assistance to.”
And therein lies my internal battle: I receive support, but not assistance.
One instance of this was when I launched a digital platform in 2018 on all things love. It was actually this very website, which is now just my blog. When I launched it I received the support I seek for my launch party. Shout out to NYN Events for working her creative, event space magic and Carlina Makeup for providing me with her salon space for free. Afterward, however, I had to do it all – the editing, the promoting, the marketing – alone. I asked for help from a few sources, but they weren’t interested in providing that support for my platform. They had their own to handle, which I get. Needless to say, I flailed. It was just too much and part of that was my doing. I took on more than I could chew because I am passionate and driven. And, yes, I am strong!
Moral of that story: support strong friends by proving them with assistance. How? I’m going to break it down.
Support Strong Friends by Purchasing
Money makes the world go round, especially when you’re an entrepreneur. So, why not buy your strong friends book, product, or service? You don’t even need to love it or be into what she is creating and offering. Purchase it and put it on a shelf, if you have to. Just put your money where your mouth is.
Share On Social Media
On Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or any other social media platform? Share your friends posts regularly. Like her posts. Comment even! That helps with engagement and social media engagement is everything for an online business. I challenge you to do this every time you are on a social media platform, which is probably daily. That’s an easy and free way to support strong friends.
Share via Email
A friend sends you a newsletter? Then forward it to a friend that may enjoy it and has no ideas your strong friend is super fabulous! Again, we all check our email a gazillion times a day. Like they say in Spanish, “Que te cuesta?” (Translation: what does it cost you?)
Talk Your Friend Up
Let’s say you know someone that needs a service or you’re just chatting with a friend. Why not tell that friend about your friends business or book or content? Talk your friend up! Your strong friend would truly appreciate it.
So, you see, support (as in assistance) doesn’t mean you need to join forces. You don’t need to roll up your sleeves and do the work alongside your strong friend. You can, however, spread her message, her post (click that link right below this paragraph to share this post on your social media platforms!) and her products. Take it from me: being entrepreneurial is lonely. It’s easy to feel defeated when the people you love don’t take these easy steps.
Step up, friend. Show your strong friend that your support means much more a word.
Sujeiry Gonzalez is a freelance relationship writer and author with over 14 years of experience. Coined the ‘Latina Carrie Bradshaw’ and the go-to chica for all things love, she has shared relationship stumbles, dating anecdotes and heartbreak on various platforms, including Latina, Cosmopolitan, and Well + Good. The relationship expert and radio show host has also been featured in People, Stylecaster, USA Today and Cosmo, and hosted her own radio show (Love Sujeiry) on SiriusXM. Author of Love Trips and Founder of Latina x Love, she is currently writing her first romance novel while educating writers on how to self-publish and create brandtastic content online for marketing.