Lean on Me: How to Be a Good Friend When Life Hits Her/Him Hard

David Archuleta performs “Lean On Me” at the Children’s Miracle Network Awards (held at Disney’s Contemporary Resort). Credit : AttractionsMagazine

Ask what they need

Even if you don’t think there’s anything you could do, the offer means a lot.

Listen instead of talking

Instead of giving her a pep talk, lend an ear and let her vent.

A lot of times people just need to talk it out. They usually know what they need to do and having yet another person tell them what do it is not helpful. just listen and you might be doing more than you think.

Check in periodically

Give space but don’t disappear from their life.

Make sure you check in, even if they don’t get back to you right away or at all, know that they did receive your message and when they do come around they’ll be thankful for that.

Don’t Compare

Try not to equate their situation with something you’ve gone through as they might take it the wrong way.

Try to be understanding of their situation and relate to it, but don’t compare it to a situation you have had, just listen and be there for them.

Bring a dish

Even if you’re a terrible cook, a homemade dish is a sign of comfort no matter what they are going through.

It shows you went out of your way and that you care enough for them to do something like that, she will appreciate the effort.

Lean On Me3

Don’t try to “fix”

The most likely don’t need you to step in and try to solve their problem for them.

Let them benefit from your positive mood

When they are ready, let them look to you for cheering up.

“One of the best ways to help a friend in a time of need is to maintain a positive, cheerful attitude.  The choice to stay positive really makes the most challenging situations easier to cope with.

Give them distractions when they’re ready

You can be the one to take them to a movie or involve her in some project you’re working on.

By offering her positive distractions not only are you helping your friend out of the rut, you are strengthening your friendship at a time when your friend feels a great sense of vulnerability.  Engaging a friend in an activity that is distracting really helps in allowing some time to disengage a bit from a difficult time and engage in something that’s productive and enjoyable.

Make them rally

If enough time has passed and she’s still wallowing, try giving her a gentle push.

Don’t allow your friend to sink like the Titanic. By giving a gentle push in a positive direction you are showing that you believe in their ability to move through the difficult time.

Hug it out

Don’t underestimate the power of physical contact.

Sometimes words are not necessary when your friend is going through a tough time and just simply pulling in for a hug can make them feel safe, calm, understood and contained. Research has shown that hugging boosts brain chemicals such as oxytocin and serotonin, elevating one’s mood and creating a sense of well-being.

Credit : Ronnie Koenig

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