When the going gets tough, will your friend or partner (whether romantic or professional) leave? Will that person branch at adversity? Or will he or she stay rooted with you? That's a big question, because leaves in your life are a dime a dozen, branches are common, but roots are a lot rarer and should be cherished.

You'll find a number of posts or even some tree-tises on social media and other parts of the Internet using this parts-of-a-tree metaphor to describe the different types of people you'll encounter in your life. A friend shared an Instagram post relaying this concept with me recently. The post essentially divided people into the following three categories:

How do you tell whether someone is a leaf, branch, or root person? See what they do rather than listen to what they say. Lots of people will tell you that they have grit and determination. But how many people can truly stick by you throughout the winter or a real storm of adversity? Sure, when you are the one being patient and nurturing towards the other person, it's easy for a leaf or a branch to remain attached to you, just like branches can remain attached to a tree inside a greenhouse. But what if you get caught up in a downpour yourself? Such downpours can really wash away the pretenders.

This is a big reason why adversity can be a hidden gift. It can serve as a big reveal. Before a storm, leaves and branches may have claimed to be roots and may have even believed their own hype. However, a little wind can be a big blow to the leaves in your life.

While the leaves scatter quickly, the branches initially may do what's needed but, after a little while, won't or can't bear the weight, despite what they may have claimed or thought. In fact, when the going gets tougher, branches can even start blaming you, the trunk, for their breaking, which is some real junk in the trunk.

It can feel very disappointing and even devastating to find out that people are leaves or branches when you had higher hopes such as entering a long-term commitment with them. But consider yourself lucky that you didn't find out even later. Think about how much worse it could have been if you had gotten married to, had children with, or started a business with that person. Or if you had continued on such paths even longer.

After a storm rages for a while, what will remain attached are the root people, those who truly stand by you. And when you still have roots, you can always grow new branches and leaves once the storm passes.

Now a leaf or a branch may claim that they can be a root as long as you give them such-and-such. These aren't real roots. Roots don't make excuses. They find ways to remain supportive; they are truly rooting for you, wanting you to do well.

The silver lining behind any storm is that it is a big reveal. And the best reveal is the people left rooting for you. During the darkest hours, your roots are what can keep you upright until the sun finally comes out again.

QOSHE - How to Tell If a Friend or Partner Is a Leaf, Tree, or Root - Bruce Y. Lee M.d
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How to Tell If a Friend or Partner Is a Leaf, Tree, or Root

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14.05.2024

When the going gets tough, will your friend or partner (whether romantic or professional) leave? Will that person branch at adversity? Or will he or she stay rooted with you? That's a big question, because leaves in your life are a dime a dozen, branches are common, but roots are a lot rarer and should be cherished.

You'll find a number of posts or even some tree-tises on social media and other parts of the Internet using this parts-of-a-tree metaphor to describe the different types of people you'll encounter in your life. A friend shared an Instagram post relaying this concept with me recently. The post essentially divided people into the following three categories:

How do you tell whether someone is a leaf, branch, or........

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