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Six ways to help a friend going through a hard time

Relationships - By Esther Muchene
Acts of service is one of the best ways to show someone you’re there for them (Shutterstock)

Tough times are unavoidable for us all. This entire year especially has highlighted how life can switch within just a couple of weeks. People have found themselves depressed and anxious over what’s next and basically, we are all just trying to have a positive mindset.

There are certain techniques you should use when it comes to comforting a friend. It’s possible to push someone away with your attempts to make them feel better.

We look at six things you can do to encourage a friend who’s going through a tough time and talk about some of the things you should avoid.

i.Let them know you are there for them

It’s very reassuring when they know you have their back. You might not be in a position to help them with their particular situation but at least they know they have someone to talk to.

This will encourage them to open up more and let you know what they’ve been going through. Hearing your comforting words is definitely something they need.

ii.Don’t force them to talk when they’re not ready

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Forcing your friends to open up to you when they’re not comfortable or when they’re not ready will only push them away. Instead of feeling comforted, they will start to resent you for demanding that they talk to you about a particular issue.

You’ve already told them that you’re there for them and that they can talk to you anytime and that’s enough. What they need at this time is space. So, leave it at that.

Let them know you have their back (Shutterstock)

iii.Visit them

People who are experiencing a season of troubles usually isolate themselves. They might not feel like interacting with anyone and that often leads to more stress or worse, thoughts of suicide.

They probably don’t realize that they need someone to offer to visit them so before you embark on heading over, a call in advance would be appropriate. Spend the day or weekend with them and try as much as you can to get their mind off their problems.

However, if they’re not okay with you visiting, don’t force issues. Take things at their own pace or they will completely withdraw themselves from you.

iv.Check on them regularly

They need to know that at least someone is thinking about them. You can do that by reaching out to them often, which will encourage them to stay strong. The good thing about tech is that you can video call them or chat with them even when you’re miles away.

They probably don’t want to look needy so don’t expect them to always call you or answer your texts for now. It’s okay, as long as you’re doing your part as their friend.

v.Don’t be quick to give advice

I’m sure you have good intentions when trying to show them what they can do to get out of their predicament. But, you have to be careful because they could only be looking for a shoulder to lean on and not some two cents or criticism. This will only worsen the situation so it’s best to avoid that.

If they haven’t asked for any advice yet, don’t shove it down their throats. Focus on listening to them and let them vent.

vi.Treat them

Acts of service is one of the best ways to show someone you’re there for them. You can simply help them clean up in case they’ve let themselves go for a long time. Buy them a small bar of chocolate, get a meal delivered to their doorstep, treat them to a lunch date or take them for a drive so they can at least get some fresh air if they’ve been indoors for too long.

This will cheer them up and remind them that you are someone they can count on when they’re not feeling okay.

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