How to Be an Emotional Support Canadian for Your American Friends
I was inspired to write about this because of what is happening in America right now. Whenever anything goes down in the states, there are memes that appear on social media about finding your “Emotional Support Canadian”.
I am Canadian and let me tell you, I am proud that Canada is looked at as a support country for America. It may not feel like it right now, but you have a great country and we are happy to be your allies.
Many of my good friends that I met through writing groups on Facebook are in America, and I know they are hurting right now. And while I can’t take their pain away, I can be there for them as an “Emotional Support Canadian”.
What Is an Emotional Support Canadian?
An Emotional Support Canadian is a Canadian who offers their emotional support to an American. Simple. We are here to listen, and we are an unofficial and self-appointed sidekick to our neighbors.
This term was coined in late 2020 by a Twitter user named “Canadian Fletchy”. He Tweeted that Emotional Support Canadians were available on standby during the U.S election.
And we still are.
We are here to listen, not judge, and allow you to vent during a time that doesn't make sense to you. While we cannot comprehend how scary things are right now, we can lend you a shoulder.
How to Be the Best Emotional Support Canadian
I was an Emotional Support Canadian during the election. This can be a hard job but it is rewarding. You are being a good friend, confidant, and learning about what is happening in America from the people who know what is actually going on (hint: it’s not the media).
So how do we support our neighbors in this stressful time?
Don’t Compare Canada to America
I have found myself doing this in the past, and it is the wrong approach. Many Canadians hate Justin Trudeau with the fire of a thousand suns, for reasons that the rest of the world doesn't see because they are not here.
How-ev-errrr. There is no comparison between the leader America has had for the past four years and Justin Trudeau. It’s human nature to try and make someone feel better by complaining about our own problems, but trust me, now is not the time for this approach.
What is happening in America is terrible, and it's out in the open. Many of the American people feel completely helpless to stop the violence and what can only be described as a coup right now.
Don’t compare these two situations, one side feels like their world is truly ending right now and the comparisons will only make them feel worse.
If you don’t know what’s happening, don't rely fully on social media or the actual media to tell the full story. Allow your American friends to tell you. This morning, Jezebel Feast updated me on what was happening all over America when we had our morning chat.
It is important to understand what is going on in America and why it is so upsetting. This way you can be the best support system possible for your American friends.
Avoid Posting “Funny” Memes About America
I have noticed some memes popping up on my Canadian friend’s Facebook accounts about what is happening in the states right now. And while memes can help us get through some hard times, as Canadians, this is not our hard time.
If you see an American post something like this, and find it funny, like it. But if you’re not American, it’s not a good idea to share this type of content right now. Because if you’re Canadian, you are not in on the “joke”.
For me, this is the same as the old adage “I can say whatever I want about my sister/mom/dad, but if anyone else speaks ill about them, watch out!”
Support Your Friend
If your friend is upset, be pissed off for them! If they are sad, listen to them vent. Offer to zoom or talk on the phone if Facebook Messenger doesn't feel like enough.
Don’t be overbearing, allow your friend to contact you sometimes. But if the conversation left off with your friend feeling sad, check in on them in a few hours or the following day.
Send your friend cute animal photos and Buzzfeed quizzes for them to do, anything fluffy and light that will take their mind off of things. If they are in the mood, tell them a funny story about your pet or child. Remember to match your actions to their demeanor and the conversation.
A Canadian Care Package
If you want to, you can even send your American friend a nice Canadian care package!
The Great Canadian Care Package:
- Lay’s Ketchup Chips
- Montreal Steak Spice
- A Canadian Beer Brand t-shirt (Alexander Keith’s, Alpine, or Molson)
- A beaver or moose teddy
- Locally produced maple syrup
- Hickory Sticks (chips)
- Bottled Donair sauce (for pizza or garlic fingers)
- Fuzzy peaches (sour candy)
- Caramilk bars
- Box mix for Nanaimo bars (oh, the Nanaimo bar, it's like heaven in a sweet!)
- Poutine gravy packets
- Dill pickle chips
- Optional: A framed photo of the great Anne Murray
These are just a few ideas, but there are many other “Canadian” things you can send to your friend to cheer them up. If you don’t have time to put one together, there are premade Canadian care packages available for purchase online.
A Friendship Without Borders
Emotional support Canadians are here for our neighbors if they need us. We are always on standby, on guard for thee.
Amy Cottreau-Moore is a freelance writer who hails from a small city in Canada. She enjoys interacting with fellow writers, dreaming of ideas for her next article, and researching a myriad of topics.