What kind of a friend are you?
When the shit hits the fan for our friends, there are 4 types of carer personalities we can take on.
The Nurturer – Nurturers go into care mode. Constantly checking in with a high level of sympathetic support.
The Fixer – Fixers go into productivity mode. They will look for practical ways to help a friend through a crises.
The Distractor – Distractors go into Shiny Object Mode. The will sing, dance and laugh their friend out of a crises.
The Ghost – Ghosts tend to disappear. It’s not always a bad thing, sometimes a Ghost knows they’re not needed and will give the space that’s required.
These friend types are not set in stone and they change depending on your friendship level. It’s likely you’ve been all four of these carer personalities types at some point in your life. However your base personality will dictate which mode you fall into most often. For example I’m rarely a Nurturer or a Ghost, I’m mostly a Fixer or a Distractor.
Also just quietly Ghosts aren’t bad – sometimes they’re not available to support a friend at that particular time or they may not be close enough to the person in need and they know giving them some space is what’s most required.
It’s an interesting thing to ask yourself if you have a friend who needs support. Am I Nurturing, Fixing, Distracting or Ghosting this person? And is this the approach that works for both them and myself right now?
On that note, this week’s episode is about caring for carers.
I think it’s really important to be diverse and cover the stories of lots of different people. I’ve never been a carer (yet – it may happen at some point) but I used to be a special ed teacher so I’ve had more than a usual amount of contact with carers. Currently there are more than 2.65 million carers in Australia, which means about 1 in 11 people in Australia are carers. In the UK, it’s closer to 8 million.
This week’s guest is Penny Wincer – she’s been a carer for both her mother and her Autistic son. She’s written a book called Tender about the challenges of being a carer. Let me tell you, this book is a doozy. I thought it was really important to shed some light on the lives of carers and also offer some words of comfort for those who are carers through the words of Penny. This episode also touches on how we can better support our carer friends.
In this episode we chat about…
- Penny’s experience of being a care giver twice
- Reluctance of carers to be labelled as carers
- The importance of protecting the privacy of the people being cared for VS the need for carers to connect and talk about their experiences, often publicly through story telling
- Ableism and and how able bodied people can avoid participating in and perpetuating it
- Inspiration porn and how to avoid promoting it
- Tips for carers who might be struggling
- Asking yourself ‘What’s the kindest thing I can do for myself right now?’
If you’re a carer or you know someone who is carer and you want to support them better, this episode is for you.
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