Unexpected things happen everyday. Sometimes it’s finances, family issues, an illness, a health problem, a lost job, a lost loved one, you name it, people have personal tragedies everyday.
What do you do when that person going through a tough time is a friend and you really want to help, but you just don’t know what to do. As someone who has been on both sides of this equation I wanted to share a few tips that I hope can help.
Respect your friends wishes.
Your friend may not want to face what ails them and that may be hard for you to understand. Everyone faces things there own way and in their own time. You may have a list of 1000 things you would do if you were them, but now is probably not the best time for a “if I were you I would” conversation. When people get bad news they may not have the energy to process everything that is going on, all they are trying to do is get to the next moment. We don’t get to choose how are friends will respond in times of trouble, but we do get to walk alongside them. Suggestions are great, but give them time to process before you try to direct the show.
2. Let Them Know You’re There & Jump In And Help.
It is comforting to know someone’s got your back. What is even better is if you think of ways to support them without them having to make a call. Let people know you are available, but take charge when you can. When things happen people still have every day life responsibilities. They still have to eat, kids still need to go to school, the house has to be cleaned, the dog still has to go out for walks, etc. if you can pick up the slack don’t wait to be asked jump in and help. If you don’t know what to do ask who is taking care of this for you and who is taking care of that, when you start hearing I don’t know or you see a hole fill it in with I will take care of that for you.
3. Call Or Stop By Just To Check In.
There maybe times when a simple phone call would do a world of good. Just check in and ask how they are doing. They may not know what they need or they maybe overwhelmed you cant tell if that’s the case if you just send a text message. Just make a phone call or stop by to say hello, I was thinking about you just seeing your face or hearing your voice is a reminder that they are not in this thing alone.
4. Do Something Nice Just Because.
There is nothing like a card that says I was just thinking of you, an unexpected cup of coffee, or a package that we didn’t order showing up just because.
5. Treat Them To A Timeout.
Sometimes just a change of scenery is a great distraction. Think about inviting your friend out for a ride, go window shopping at a mall, get some ice cream, rent a good movie, or go out and grab a bite to eat. Maybe you ask for their help with something you’re working on, you get a second set of hands and they get a welcomed distraction.
6. Just Listen
You may be tempted to give advice, please resist especially if you’re not asked for it. This is not the best time for you to talk about how your cousin got through this, or how back in the day you went through the same thing. Just listen. Listen and sympathize with that person. Let them have their feelings. Sometimes people just want to be heard and feel like someone understands where they’re coming from, you don’t have to agree with their position to listen to how they feel. Just acknowledge their pain and validate their feelings.
7. Encourage Them To Get Help, If They Need It.
There is nothing wrong with going to talk to a professional, talking to a pastor, or someone better equipped to deal with the issue at hand. Your friend may need help from someone they don’t know. They may genuinely need a professional to help them get out of this rut. Depression is real and we cant lie to ourselves or them when we feel like the issue needs professional attention. Is never a bad idea to encourage our friends to explore talking to a professional who can really help them work these things out.
You and I both know that we all go through difficult times and one time more Nother gallon is great to know we can help others are going through a difficult time by lovingly supporting them and helping them it what they need.