How to Help a Friend in Need
Have you got a friend going through personal struggles who you want to help? Even when it comes to the people closest to us, knowing how to give help may not always be obvious. Here’s some advice for giving the right support:
Understanding the problem may mean doing some research. You don’t want to give them the wrong advice and support and end up making matters worse. The root of the problem could be anything from grief, to an addiction, to work-related stress, to relationship problems. Ask them for their input and do your own research online. By educating yourself, you’ll be better prepared for helping them. You can even research solutions to the problem together.
Know the boundaries
Knowing the boundaries can be tricky. Some friends might not want help, but may need it – and while you don’t want to force your help on them, you may need to keep on at them before you get through to them. In other cases, friends may be too reliant on you to the point that you feel like they’re taking advantage. In these cases, you might need to distance yourself and try to encourage them to be more independent.
Learn to listen
Not all friends may be looking for advice. Some people just need someone to talk to, a way to vent their problems. Make sure you’re taking the time to listen to your friend instead of constantly giving your opinion. Being too opinionated could stop them trusting you.
Lift some of the burden
If your friend is having to deal with a lot of responsibilities, consider small gestures that might be able to lift some of the burden. This could include inviting over your friend for a meal so they don’t have to cook, babysitting children for them or helping with housework. These small gestures will help build trust and make it easier to help them.
Seek outside help
Outside help could be required in many cases. This might be anything from bereavement counselling to drug rehab, depending on the circumstances. Try discussing the option of seeking outside support with your friend. They might be reluctant to see a professional, so you may need to do some persuading. There are lots of options out there to discuss such as group therapy sessions or individual counselling.
Be a healthy distraction
You might not want to make every meeting with your friend about the issue at hand. Sometimes being a positive distraction can really make a difference. This could include going on a day out with them and completely getting away from the issue. They may then be able to overcome their problems while realising that there is still fun to be had.