“Well, a friend in need is a friend indeed.” – Edgar Bergen
At some point in your life, someone you care about is going to need your support. Whether it’s emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally, or even financially… it’s inevitable. Like it or not, it’s bound to happen, and yet, many of us are totally unprepared to deal with it.
Knowing how to be a great support to that person can seem overwhelmingly difficult, however, it doesn’t need to be. Even the simplest of acts or gestures can make a significant difference to someone who may be going through a rough patch.
I’m going to share three of the absolute easiest, yet most impactful ways to show your support.
#1 Reach Out!
Oftentimes people are unsure what to say when a friend is suffering, so they say nothing.
You can’t help a friend in need if you vanish when problems arise. Being apathetic is not genuine friendship. To be a good friend you have to be there.
A simple note or text asking how they are and letting them know you are there to offer support can make a meaningful difference.
Healthy relationships are imperative for any person’s mental health. Friends can play a key role in helping us deal with life’s challenges.
Ask and truly listen with an open mind.
Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do is let them know that you are there for them and simply listen and reassure them that they will be ok. Remember that you aren’t expected to magically have all the answers.
Don’t forget, it’s about them – not you – so, don’t interject your own problems or issues into the conversation. Oftentimes, simply knowing that you are aware of their struggle can be a huge relief.
After you hear them out, make your decision about how serious you think the problem is and determine whether you need to encourage him or her to get professional support.
#3 It’s Ok to not be OK
Oftentimes, when people are truly struggling they often force themselves to feel even worse by placing unrealistic expectations on themselves.
Mentally, they beat themselves up for having a problem and feeling unable to cope with it. Now is the time to remind them that you love them unconditionally, and will support them, regardless of the circumstances.
It’s also vitally important to stress that they are no less of a person because they are facing a personal challenge. We all do at some point in our lives, and it’s these experiences which serve to mold and strengthen our character.
Be sure to stress to him or her that it is absolutely OK to not be OK.
We are all unique individuals with different personalities, experiences, and circumstances. Consider the person. Consider who they are before you act, and support them accordingly.
The important thing is to offer them unconditional support.
Life isn’t always easy, but friends can help each other get through even the toughest of times.