Being There at the Right Time

We all lead such busy lives. Some of us are parents, some of us work, others study – maybe even a combination of the above. But no matter who we are, sometimes life gets us down. Sometimes we just need someone to be there for us, right at that moment in time. Not in a few hours, not tomorrow. But now. Yesterday, I was there for a friend… in this exact way.

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Photo Credit: Sira Anamwong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Running late

It was Wednesday morning and I’d been dreading this particular day all week long. I needed to drop the older kids at school, then rush my youngest daughter to her appointment right after. Just like every other day, I had to wake up at 6.30am, have breakfast with the kids, get them ready for school, clean up, have a shower, then drive them. But yesterday, I’d woken up thirty minutes late: this had thrown my routine out of whack. If I ended up being late to school, I’d probably be late to the appointment as well.

So into the car we all went and I made the mad dash to school. We managed to arrive just about 10 minutes late. I sighed in relief; I knew if I hurried up, I could still make the appointment on time.

Being there for a friend

But after I dropped off my second daughter, I bumped into a mother from the same class. She’s a good friend of mine. I told her that I was about to take my daughter to an appointment. We started talking about how she’d been and how life was going. It was clear it wasn’t going so well; horrible, in fact.

As we walked to her car and got into an intense discussion, my mind was filled with so many thoughts:

Am I going to be late to my appointment?
Should I go now?
If we keep talking, I might be late…
But I don’t want to leave her, she needs me…

Despite knowing how late I already was, I chose to compromise: to stay a little bit longer and help my friend, but still try to make it there on time.

So I stood and listened. I listened to her talk about her life, her situation, and how she simply was not happy. My two year old daughter was her usual cheeky self, swinging off me, wriggling around in my arms; it was difficult to look after her whilst immersed in the conversation with my friend. But I didn’t care, I wanted to be there for her.

We talked for about 20 minutes. Starting to feel anxious about the time, I told her I was sorry and that I had the appointment to go to. She apologised, she’d forgotten all about it. I said it was okay, I wanted to help. She thanked me, and I didn’t regret for a second that I’d been there for her. I felt good knowing that I was there when someone really needed me.

In the end, I rushed to my appointment and arrived only five minutes late. Thankfully, I wasn’t called in for another five. It was a win-win situation for both of us.

Making the time

This wasn’t the first time that I’d set aside my own life to care about someone else’s.

  • I have spent three hours in a car with an acquaintance, to help him through his depressive feelings. He wanted to commit suicide that night. I ended up saving his life.
  • I chose to listen to a friend cry and talk about her separation, instead of rushing to an appointment. To this day, we are still very good friends because she knows I was there for her when a lot of her family and friends weren’t.
  • I have hopped onto my laptop at 11pm at night (in Perth, Australia), to cater to an American friend’s time zone. He wanted some business advice. After our conversation, he couldn’t stop thanking me for all the help I’d given him.

Being there for someone else isn’t about dismissing your needs completely, but about realising that sometimes timing matters.

Sometimes we have to ask ourselves: Is it really impossible to help our friend out now? Is it impossible to compromise a little, so we can both benefit? Can we postpone our plans just for now, to be there for someone else?

Being there at the right time

Sometimes timing matters. Sometimes a person needs to talk now rather than later. Sometimes setting aside 15 minutes of your time to talk to someone could make a world of difference. Sometimes putting aside your own life could mean helping someone else’s.

So next time someone tells you that they’re feeling down, that they want to talk, or even that they need help moving their furniture, ask yourself: Can I help now? If I can’t, then is there any way around it? How can I show them that I still care?

It is always very important to think about ourselves, but it is also important to think about those around us.

Because as busy as life gets for all of us…

We all need someone to be there at the right time.

This post was featured on Digital Parents.

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Thuy Yau is a freelance writer and Youth Work graduate living in Perth, Australia. She loves to share personal stories about overcoming adversity, as she believes that human beings are more capable than they realise. She writes to make a positive difference in the world and to inspire others to learn from themselves and their own experiences. Her writing has been discussed on radio, won writing contests, appeared on The Huffington Post UK and major Australian sites such as news.com.au, SMH, Kidspot and Essential Kids. She volunteers her time as Newspaper Project Manager for Millennium Kids, a youth empowerment organisation.

8 Replies to “Being There at the Right Time”

  1. You sound like a good hearted and caring person. We all need to be there for a friend and family member when in need. Sometimes their needs come before ours.

    1. Completely agree, Phil. All of us have ups and downs, sometimes the people around us just go through them at different stages. That’s when we need to lend a helping hand; we might need it one day. Thanks for reading and for your kind words! 🙂

  2. You are very kind and generous… if only everyone in the world took a leaf out of your book! xoxo

    1. Thanks, Melissa! We may not be able to change others, but we can definitely lead by example! 🙂

  3. Hello Thuy,

    Its been a long time since I visited your blog, but today I felt like coming here and really happy that I have come to read an amazing post.

    We need to be there for people when they needs us and ask our help. However there are certain people who belong to the rescuers community who will be helping even without asking for help. These people are infact killing the fighting spirit in the other person. Its similar to the butterfly story. What do you feel?

    1. Hi Rafi,

      Thanks for dropping by. Yes, I see your point, some people like to give unsolicited advice where it isn’t wanted or needed – this isn’t something I agree with.

      However, I am talking more about loved ones who are quite intent on wanting our help. This is where the opportunity lies to be there for them. This is when they need us.

      Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  4. This was a great post. It is true that sometimes it is best to just drop things and listen to someone. You never know why someone reaches out. You could be there lifeline. It is hard to be alone, but oftentimes to know that one person cares enough to listen, one person you don’t pay such as a therapist, is enough to keep going.

    Thanks for the post and have a great day.

    1. So true, Sebastian. Sometimes people need us so much more than we realise. We need to try our best to open our eyes, ears and our hearts to them. It might be us that needs this next. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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