I had an interesting conversation the other day. We were talking about who we would call in the middle of the night,if we were in trouble. At first we explored what kind of trouble we would likely find ourselves in. Based on the situation,we both listed who we would call. If we were in trouble with the car for example, it could be a different individual than if we were on our way to the hospital or just heard bad news. That being said,it could also be only one person that you go to anytime of the day or night for anything at all it is an individual choice.
We meet thousands of people over the coarse of our lifetime. Most of them we might meet only once. Then there is the acquaintance category. People we know by name. We might even chat daily during a work break or while waiting at the bus stop. They could even be a perfect companion to pass time with at the local coffee shop. Nice people to get to know. Do we know them though? We might be able to tell you their children’s names or if they are animal lovers ,perhaps their birthdays. Is that enough to know them? It could be we know of them more than know them. Life is often easier that way.
How many of these people even know our last name or where we live? Never mind would we let them into our home if they showed up. There is the outside world and then there is our inner circle.
Oddly, there is no set amount of time we need to know someone,or set criteria we need to know about them,in order to place them in the inner circle, they are just there. We might not even consciously be aware that they are settling in.
I would like to believe I would be there for someone in trouble no matter what the time or what the circumstance were. The thing we don’t know is, if the person in trouble would even think of calling or reaching out to us at all. Someone else might come to mind entirely. Or saddest of all, no one comes to mind in a moment of crisis .We have all heard ourselves say ” if you need something call me ” We even actually mean it. That doesn’t mean we have conveyed the sincerity with which these words are spoken.
In the scenario we were playing out during this conversation we both came up with a handful of people that we would call that would not judge and would instantly be there no questions asked. To clarify for this exercise only, we limited ourselves to people living locally. This ruled out many family members which are our common go to network.
Many people have no family living close by. There are only a very small amount of people that love us unconditionally. Who’s in your inner circle? Ask yourself, do you foster a culture that allows people to reach out to you? Is someone else’s burden even temporarily,too much to take on? There Is no wrong answer. It’s just good to know where we would see ourselves.
Are you a 9:00 – 5:00 lifeline? Are you willing to help but on your own terms? Do you have what it takes to go into the battle zone ? I have from time to time been surprised when someone I least expect comes up trumps in some fashion. Did I underestimate them, or where they hiding their inner super hero? I have also been bitterly disappointed when someone I thought would be there has scattered in the wind .Most likely it was obvious to only me, that this person had made it to my emergency contact list. This poor individual probably was oblivious to their status. After all it’s not like we tell people they are in our inner circle. It’s more implied for the most part.
One of the biggest misconceptions we have, is that we have to sort out everything life throws at us by ourselves. In my view that is rarely the case. What is real,is not always how we see things though. In event of a true emergency ,physical or emotional you might not know until in the moment, who you would call. You might though,at the very least have a mental emergency contact list ready.
If you have the capacity to be the emergency contact for someone you care about, you don’t necessarily need to shout it from the rooftops. If it is more your style, let them know by your actions that you have them covered should the need arise. Just make sure the message comes through clear enough so that should the person need you,your name would come to mind. The reason it is important to let people know,is that in a true emergency you are rarely thinking clearly. The imprint of your mental emergency contact list needs to be able to come to mind when everything else may be crumbling down around you. Sometimes just knowing that you have an emergency back up plan makes life easier to bare.