How To Support A Friend Going Through A Tough Time
by Angela Chan. |
So your friend’s going through a tough time. Your close friend recently lost a family member or had one of the worst break ups ever or financial problems. It made her or him so depressed and sad. And being so close to them, you’d want to show your support but afraid of coming off as annoying.
I once went through a really tough time too when I lost my father when I was young. I remember, all I want to do was to bring my father back and the words of comfort from my loved ones didn’t help me at all. In fact, I found it annoying. Although I knew that they meant good intentions, it actually put more stress going through it all.
So what can you do to help?
The best is to give them some time to themselves and let them know that you’ll be there for them whenever they are ready to talk about the tough situations.
Once that is sort of resolved, you could:
1. Offer help in alternative ways
Instead of constantly giving words of encouragement, perhaps you could offer help in other ways. For example, offering to have a meal of their favourite food, offer to drive them or run errands and so on. It’s a good way to ease up the tension and create small talk.
Bring up topics that are light-hearted and casual while you’re at it. Topics that you know would not remind them of their problems or sadness. Bring them out of their negative thoughts. Who knows? Your brief moment with them could just give them some positive affirmations that things will get better again.
2. Acknowledge what they’re going through
You also need to make sure you acknowledge the situation that your friend is in. For example, you may think that your friend being dumped by his or her significant other and being depressed about it may be ridiculous, you may think like:
“Ughh… it’s been months. Just get over it already. All you do is talk about him.”
But I’m sure even we know how it feels like. As dramatic as it can be, it feels like hundreds of arrows pierced through their heart and they can’t imagine how life would be.
Bottom line is, it hurts.
The moment they know you’re being judgmental or they know you’re actually annoyed, it’ll make them even more hurt and end up having a tougher time because their friend doesn’t understand what they’re going through.
Maybe avoid telling them “You’re gonna be okay” because it may appear as if you’re shrugging them off. Instead, you could ask them if they would want to talk about it and give them affirmations.
3. To listen and not give much advice
This could sounds weird right? Most people would assume that friends who confide in them are asking for solutions. However, another way to be by your friend’s side is to hear them out without trying to say much that could rile things up or even offer any kind of advice.
They just need you to hear them out without saying any kind of remark. Someone who is okay with them being sad or angry without any opinion or advice. Just an ear to listen. Sometimes what they say may contradict to your own understanding or beliefs, but keep in mind that it’s all in the moment and chances are, they probably don’t mean it. If you really want to correct their thoughts, you can do it when they’re emotionally more stable.
4. Just be present
Having said that, I’m sure we have friends who prefer not to open up even though they are obviously upset – myself included. But it doesn’t mean they want to be alone at all times.
Just by meeting up and staying by their side, even if all you do is to stay silent, it could give them some sort of comfort. Have lunch with them, do your work with them or even walk yours or their pets together. It’s the simplest form of gesture, just to literally be there (whenever convenient for you too, of course).
Try to keep them company. If you don’t want to do it alone and your friend doesn’t like a big crowd, you could bring along a close friend or two. It helps them by telling them they’re not alone during this journey of healing. Being lonely when you’re going through such tough could be mentally challenging.
At the end of it all, as much as we would want to ease the situation and help out, some battles will need to be solved by your own friend. Butting in could worsen the situation because things could get complicated. We hope that this article helped you in one way or another because seeing your friend going through a tough time while being helpless isn’t the best thing.
You may also find more of Angela's work on Wattpad.