How to help a friend who's going through a bad time

March 10, 2020

It can be tough to know what to do when a friend is going through a crisis. Whether they are dealing with a death in their family, a breakup or a health issue, or something entirely different, you will want to give them as much support as possible. But the right words do not always come to mind, especially when we cannot empathise with what they are going through. So, before you text, call or see them in person make sure you are trying to help in the right way, which meets your besties needs.
Firstly, it is important not to judge yourself for being a bit unsure of what to say in these moments. It can sometimes difficult to ask for a friend who is her hurting to see you when they just want to be left alone. But you must remember that you are reaching out and making an effort to see them will make a massive difference. People going through heartbreak and loss can isolate themselves during tough times. So when trying to help a friend, it is vital to meet that friend in an environment where they feel comfortable but if they are not ready to go out or see you just yet give them time and space and you can catch up when he or she prepared to see you.

It is important not to overwhelm your friend with messages with "I'm here if you need me" and think of an actional approach which shows that person that they are valued, and you are there to help them. Text them to let you know when you can meet, so it allows them to open up and chat with you in a location which is not intense or discomforting for them. I would recommend going out for a coffee, drinks or food so you can have an excellent time together without focusing on the past.

However, if your schedule is somewhat crazy, I would recommend inviting them over to your place and have a big cup of tea reader for them so they can relax in the comfort of a home. Understandably, if you are miles away from one another meeting face to face is not possible but a phone call, face time or Skype is a step in the right different to show that person you are truly present!

However, if your friend lives just only a few miles away, take the approachable steps to be a supportive friend. Here are a few tips that I have put together to help you be there for a friend through tough times;

1. Make plans and hang out
If you don't know what to do or say, start by making an effort to make plans with them and hang out like you usually do. Whether that's during the week or the weekend. Just being there, without expectation or distraction, means a lot. 

2. Let them open up to you
One way to respond is by validating their feelings. Don't let them be scared of being vulnerable as this emotional state allows us to vent, cry and release emotions that we bury deep in our minds. If they seem lost, scared or unsure about their future, reassure them that things will be better and it's just a blip in the bigger picture of their journey. 

5. Put yourself in their shoes
There's lots of advice on the internet, but sometimes these tips aren't beneficial. Think about their situation first and image if you were in their place would you want to hear that you need just to relax and move on? The answer is no. 
The truth is people need time to heal no matter what life trauma they've gone through. Breakups are horrible; losing a loved one is something that you can never expect to happen. So, just listen and try and remind that person of their self-worth. Being kind and giving that person strength will help them build the confidence to break through this difficult time.

3. Don't jump in with your opinions or your advice
Resist the urge to compare their scenario to you own. You may have experienced a similar break up or have lost a family member. But just take the time to listen to your friend and rest to offering advice or finding solutions to their situation.

6. Be flexible
If your friend is busy dealing with a crisis, offering to be there more often will help remind them that they're not alone. Taking them out for coffee, grabbing their lunch or coming over with a takeaway can show them that you're available when they need you. 

7. Ask How You Can Help
Everyone deals with pain in different ways, and it's essential to give your friend time and space. Let them reach out to you when they're comfortable to see you. If they prefer to text than call, then respect their wishes. However, if they've asked them to see you in person, be proactive and do this sooner rather than later.

8. Keep Checking In
If you have already spoken, met up and chatted about your friends' scenario, then please keep in contact. Do not distance yourself and keep being there for your friend when he or she is at their most vulnerable. 
Remember they're still feeling very raw, and a lot of these scenarios take time to get past so continue being that great person in their life and remind them being kind is so powerful! I often text my friend's photos or videos of memories we shared over the years to help tell them how grateful I have them in my life.

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