Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Be my buddy?

Wouldn't it be odd if real life was like it is online? Take Facebook for example, where you need to request someone to be your friend. Now while it's possible that you and I may have adopted this strategy in kindergarten ('Can I be your friend?'), as you get older you realise that friendship is something which just happens. Sure, it may take conscious effort on the part of the prospective pals, but in general friendships usually develop without you realising what's going on.

Yesterday I wrote about the way sharing your Moodscope score with a 'buddy' (they get an automatic email notification every time you record it) may help to lift your mood more than tracking alone can.

But how do you ask someone to be your buddy? Even though you may believe it might help, you could be reluctant to broach the subject.

However, perhaps the first question is, who do you ask? The most popular choice among Moodscopers is someone who is already a friend in real life. Interestingly it doesn't need to be someone you necessarily see every day: perhaps you live a long way from each other and are maintaining your friendship by email or phone. Indeed some people have told us that the Moodscope buddying process has actually taken their, sometimes geographically remote, friendship to a deeper new level.

Others ask a close family member to be their buddy. Into this category come quite a number of parents and their university-age 'children'. Moodscope enables a mother or father to maintain a relationship with a son or daughter who has left home for the first time: they track their mood at university and Ma or Pa can step in to offer support without needing to be asked (very important this - who among us is really any good at requesting help?)

Who else can be a buddy? Some people ask a trusted work colleague or fellow student if they're in education. Others share scores with a counsellor or medical professional.

Another possibility (and one which can sometimes work well) is when two people buddy one another: both use Moodscope, both share their scores. It might be that one tends to have lower moods than the other, or both could struggle from time to time. Perhaps surprisingly, either scenario can be helpful - for both parties.

What about one person's possible reluctance to ask another to be their buddy? The biggest obstacles seem to be that Moodscopers believe they don't want to be a burden on someone else: there may be a tendency to think the other person has got enough problems of their own.

When we hear from buddies, however, it's apparent that almost without exception they were honoured to be asked. Yes, honoured. They saw it as a demonstration that the person asking them trusted and valued them. They believed it gave them a chance to actively help, rather than being forced to worry but not be able to do anything.

The responsibilities of a buddy are really not that arduous. Even if they do nothing at all, you may well find it helps to know you're being watched over. The most they might do is drop you a brief reply now and then. And when I say brief, I mean brief. Jonny, who I mentioned yesterday, went on to be my buddy for a couple of years, and if my mood dipped now and then he'd send me the world's shortest email:


Please add to the conversation about buddying in Moodscope by commenting below.