Five Ways to Help a Friend Through a Difficult Time

support friends

When your friend has a lot on their plate, there are always ways through which you can support them. We can all experience hard times as we go through life, but it is important not to neglect a family member or a friend during these sad moments. Whether they are dealing with a breakup, loss of a loved one, or health issue, it is important to give them as much support as you can. Below are five ideas you need to keep in mind when assisting a friend cruise through a difficult moment.

Offer Companionship

When your friend or family member is passing through a hard time, and you do not have something in mind to say to them, offering a shoulder to lean on goes a long way. Being with the distressed person without distraction means a lot to the victim. Whether taking a walk, washing dishes, or hanging out in the backyard, this will help them feel loved and cared for.

Spending time with a distressed person can usually provide four types of social support. They include emotional support that involves physical comfort like hugs, pats, and listening. There is esteem support that is illustrated in expressions of confidence or encouragement. And the last one is informative support which is in the form of advice-giving.

Check Signs of Suicidal Thoughts

Distressed people usually experience emotional pain that usually feels unbearable. These people can be our friends or our family members. We should know how to check on them, especially to identify any early signs of suicidal thoughts and help avoid them. This applies mostly to people who have had thoughts of suicide, as they are more prone to suicide.

People with disabilities may sometimes have hard issues to work out in their lives, possibly due to society’s neglect or stigmatization. For these kinds of scenarios, ask them directly how they feel. Try to guide them to help that is available. Tell them about Georgia disability lawyers, for example, that will offer a helping hand and answer questions that they might have.

Help Them Find Effective Coping Strategies

A distressed person is usually not in the capacity to make important decisions. They are feeling a bit helpless, and possibly hopeless. As a friend or relative to the person struggling, it is important to think and strategize how to deal with this situation. Begin by asking them what they like and what they don’t. This will help them deal with tough times and open a conversation with you.

Have a discussion about developing an effective coping strategy and help the victim create an action plan. Conduct follow-ups on how they are doing over a certain period of time, and don’t forget to remind them how to tackle those difficult moments.

The benefit of this method is that it helps you and your distressed friend develop a strategy that has been proven and tested. This is achieved by someone else suggesting things that have made a difference in the recent past.

Positive Reassurance

Using statements like, “everything will be fine,” often makes people feel ashamed of expressing their pain. Instead, using phrases like, “There’s help available,” will go a long way in motivating them. Also, support the person by enrolling them in counseling therapy sessions to ease their thoughts by talking to therapists.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

A person in emotional distress may be difficult to speak their mind, especially the introverted person. To find out what the person is going through or is planning to do, it is important to conduct open-ended questions. It will help create a space for them to share how they are feeling and let you know what they need.

This strategy can also prove comforting if they find it okay to try to incorporate non-verbal body language while exchanging words as this effectively conveys care. Gestures like placing your arm on their shoulder or patting their back when comforting them will help convey care and concern. Avoid telling a distressed person how to feel. Rather, try a statement like, “Whatever you are experiencing, and in whichever way, it’s okay,” to a person experiencing a difficult time.

Remember that you are not able to solve all the problems of your friend, but having a listening ear and a willing attitude to help can make your friend’s journey bearable until they get the help they need.

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

Mandy Kloppers
Author: Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.

Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.

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