When I was a teenager I had friends with some pretty serious issues. Adolescence riddles all of us with our awkward phases, frizzy hair, what we thought were cool outfits, and those crushes we just knew we would never get over. But when it came to the heavy topics, like eating disorders, divorce, and depression, I always wanted to be the friend who knew exactly what to say. In reality though, friends don't confide in us because they want us to be their hero; they just want someone to listen. I find that a hard realization to believe in. As much as I know it's true, I still find myself fighting the urge to babble just for the sake of hoping something wise spills out. Even now in my mid twenties, I have to bite my anxious tongue that wants to keep speaking until one phrase just so happens to be exactly what a friend in distress needs to hear. In a recent conversation with a close friend, I found myself so at a loss of what to say, I had no choice but to admit it. After my admission, and her honest appreciation for it, I realized just how compelling my need to be heard is. A few weeks ago, I listened to my husband preach about Solomon and all of the things he could have prayed to God about. Solomon's most earnest request was simply for wisdom. I should want more than to be heard. I should want to have wisdom in my words. In my friend's reply, she thanked me for "knowing when not to offer a quick little Christian saying." It's honesty like that, that keeps me on my toes, and from making cliche quips that we hear all the time from well meaning friends (er, like myself).
So please tell me I'm not a narcissist that just likes the sound of my own voice or to be complimented on my solid advice giving. What's the balance between knowing when to give wise advice and when you're saying something just to make someone feel a little warm and fuzzier? And is one any better than the other?