Friendships take work.
Heck, all relationships take work, am I right?
But what if you’re in a friendship (or any other kind of relationship) with a creative person?
Sounds exciting, right? Open minded discussions, exciting adventures, picking up on the energy & passion that surrounds the creative process, an excuse to go to fancy galleries openings, loud concerts, and posh parties…
Ah, what a life!
…But what if your artsy-besty doesn’t call you back for a week? What if they actually seem to have forgotten about you altogether? What if they’re rude for no reason? What if they get strangely emotional? What if they have a hard time hanging out with your other friends or doing some of the things you like to do?
None of these things mean that you are less of a friend in their eyes. In fact, if you can stick through these things along with them (listening, being gracious with the flaws, making an effort to bridge the gaps) you may actually be their very best friend in the whole wide world.
Here are 10 things your creative friend probably wants you to know about your relationship (but might not have the words for)
…and yes, I’m totally writing from experience.
1) Listen earnestly. Most creative people have a hard time articulating their thoughts with spoken words, so when they speak, listen with an open & gracious mind. I like to think this is because our minds are full of so many wonderful ideas that they have a hard time spilling out (and that’s actually kind of true…)
2) Figure out how your friend communicates best and meet them there – talking, phone calls, writing, singing, with images… Even if you don’t communicate that way, appreciate that they do.
3) Fight for your friendship. Don’t hesitate to insert yourself into their life (tactfully & graciously of course). You will probably have to put for extra effort to make this relationship actually happen. We’re sorry!!!
4) But also, give them space, knowing that creativity takes extreme focus, time, and may mean that other things in life get 2nd priority for a time (even dear friends).
5) Be willing to live a little outside the box. It’s fun, you’re going to feel like a crazy person sometimes, but it is fun.
6) Creativity takes a lot of the emotional energy, be ready to support and strengthen. No harsh judgment, no insult, no unneeded criticism.
7) Delight in their creation. Regardless of how confident a creative person may seem on the outside, they are their own worst critic and those voices are deeply ingrained in their heads. Be a positive influence.
8) Offer valuable encouragement and feedback, and critique with knowledge. Remember that the closer you get to someone the more weight your words carry. This is 200% true for creative people.
9) Keep life in perspective. Most creative people are very driven, but not in the way you might expect. There are spurts of intensity, and times of creative rest. Remind your friend that these times of rest, dry spells, are healthy and nothing to be ashamed of.
10) Dream and philosophize together. At the heart of creativity is an idea. Coaxing that idea into words and visual forms is the fun part. Be an “ideas person” – if only for the duration of one meal. 😉
…ok, one more, because it’s super important:
Creativity takes a certain amount of emotional rawness. It means that creative people get very happy, very sad, are in tune with their surroundings, and feel things very, very deeply. This isn’t always easy to live with (for either person) so be ready to be the support we all need at times. And, I guarantee you, if you are ever in need an empathetic person (and you will sometime), you’ve got the very best at your shoulder.
What would you like to add to this list? What have you learned thee hard way?
PS. Creative people, share this post with your sweet friends… I’ll be your voice. ; )
PSS. The image at the top with the totally lovely lady in it was taken by my good friend Paige French. She is a photographer, life-lover, super-creative, and a wonderful friend to many.
Until next time,
Hey! I loved this post so much 🙂 i consider myself to be a creative person and i can really relate to a lot that you mentioned in this piece. Can’t wait to read more from you!
Life as a creative person, or being the friend of one, is certainly never dull. Loved this post! 🙂
I can relate to what you wrote: creative people can be very sensitive ( I am speaking of my own experience) and it does hurt whenever someone is being judgmental with no reason… I wish people could read minds and understand us better! Enjoyed your post!
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I can relate, it’s hard to stop thinking of things visually and actually put them into words- Thanks for doing so!
Emily, this is so wonderful. Yes, yes, yes ten times! I’m sending it to my friends and family. Thanks. Elizabeth
I loved this post! I’m married to an artist and am only beginning to understand that I am also a super creative person. It’s a really good life. So much to learn about each other and feel. I love it.
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I’ve had to fight for a friendship with a graphic designer and artist friend. It wAs so hard to give her, her space because I missed her very much
😦 it took a year until we reconnected again. We have been friends for 17 years now 🙂
Reblogged this on Design Secrets and commented:
This was an interesting blog to say the least.
Reblogged this on Autumn Journal Musings and commented:
Spot on post about friendships with “creatives”. Emily Jeffords does a good job of showing how some creative behaviors appear from the outside as well.
Thank you! Beautifully and truthfully written
Reblogged this on smindlo's Blog.
Have to work a lot in my case. 🙂
Reblogged this on Fully Alive and commented:
I love this article from Emily it’s so true, if you are a creative person or you know a creative person!
well said 🙂
looooove this! =)
I love this post! 🙂
Useful tips. Never thought about this. Thanks 🙂
Thank-you for putting into words pretty much exactly how I feel. As a writer and part-time artist, I can relate to needing #1: listen earnestly. Good communication is important in all relationships, but especially so in relationships with us creative souls. Bravo, Emily! I am looking forward to new posts. ❤
Reblogged this on juliekim00.
Reblogged this on DianARS Blog and commented:
Thank you for that! Sometimes we get a little adrift with our minds don’t we?
Thank you for your insight! I was able to relate to many points that you touched on. I am finally re-exploring my creative side after having it be dormant for years. Your article has resonated deep within and has helped me embrace my creative self. Thanks again! 🙂
Beautiful Blog on the subject. My best friend is a dancer and she is very similar to myself and needs time and space for her art. We share a lot of respect and love for each other and treasure the time we can actually spend with each other. So yes 10 good recommendations not only for creative friends but also for any relationship 😉 ❤
Reblogged this on imaginevitable and commented:
Well Put. Thank you for being my voice, I never knew how to put it into words.
My problem as a creative is, it is my soul. When I tell someone about an idea, a plan…. It means I am telling you the thing that means more to me than ….air. I am so excited to share this thing that has kept me going for weeks… Months. It is uncontrollable. As a friend you are the person I look forward to sharing this ride with. It should be looked at as a gift. My problem is…. These folks are going out and doing this thing. Sometimes using my own wording whilst telling there other friends. Sometimes our dreams take a hold but require time and funding. This is not an invitation to steal. To take my idea which I have stayed awake for nights… Days…. Weeks… Planing and dreaming, is simply to take a part of my soul. We are all individual. Get your own life. This is my top rule to friends. As a result I am a lonely creative. That is how much I value my creative self.
I know that feeling too. It so hard when someone loves your idea so much to claim even a bit of it for themselves. Fortunately, a good friend will not steal but champion you. Finding a friend like that is like finding gold! Keep looking!