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,