When a loved one is going through a rough time, it can be hard to know what to do. It’s horrible to watch them cry and feel powerless to help. But you’re not powerless, even if being there for them may not fix all of their problems. As confusing as it is to want to do the right things for our friends but not know how, there are some things that we can keep in mind when we want our friends to know that we’re there for them.
Everybody deals with stress differently and needs different things to feel supported. While one may feel better around friends, another may want to be alone. The best thing you can do to be there for someone is to listen to them about what they need from you, and never take what they need personally. If they prefer to be left alone it isn’t personal, and when they do finally feel like talking they’ll know that you’ve got their back.
2.) Know that it won’t always feel good to be a good friend
Sometimes loving someone well doesn’t feel good. Showing up to their apartment to make them dinner may be what would make you feel good, but it may not necessarily feel good for them. If you’re truly going to be there for someone, you have to be willing to sacrifice your idea of what it means to comfort someone. Bear in mind why you’re doing what you’re doing. If it’s something that you instinctively think will help someone else because it helps you, it may be best to reconsider. Doing what’s best for someone else doesn’t always feel good to us, but it’s important if someone is going to know that you’re there for them.
3.) Don’t try to solve their problems
Most of the time there’s nothing you can do to solve someone else’s difficult situation. You can’t fix it or make it better, but what make it better is your empathy. People can tell when you’re there with them in that moment, and making the choice to feel what they’re feeling. That connection is what makes something better, not attempting to fix their problems all together.
4.) Check up
A quick text or a phone call to check on someone may seem small, but for someone going through a hard time it feels huge. Simply knowing that someone still thinks about them when they’re not around can be enough to lift someone’s mood for the whole day, and they’ll know that if they need you, you’ll be there.
5.) Be available
Before you ask if there’s anything someone needs, make sure you are available to provide what they ask for. The amount of courage it takes to reach out and ask someone for help should not be taken lightly. If that person is a priority for you, it’s important that you treat them like one. Clearing your schedule is unnecessary, but if they ask you to come over so they can talk and you say that you can’t because you need to do some shopping, they’ll know that you’re efforts to “be there” are just words. Make sure you back up your words with actions.
6.) Don't hover
When someone we love is going through a hard time its normal to want to hover. However, hovering often does more harm than good. We don’t have to be near someone all the time for them to know that we’re there for them. Don’t be afraid to give someone space. Time alone may be the most important thing for them.