There are few things in life more frustrating and upsetting than having to watch someone you care about go through something difficult. Whether it’s something in their personal life, professional life or some mix of the two, many people would rather deal with those struggles themselves than watching a loved one have to deal with them. One of the most difficult things about it is the feeling of being unable to help and support them when they really need it. It can be awful to watch someone go through something, want to help, but be completely unable to. But are you really unable to? If a loved one is suffering, is there really nothing that you can do? Fortunately, the answer is no. In fact, there are always things that you can do; it’s just a matter of understanding what the best possible way to support the person that you care about really is. Not every method of support is going to work for every person in every situation, but understanding what your friend may need will help you offer them much better support than just trying everything and hoping for the best. Here are a few things that you can do when you have a friend in need.
Offer fresh perspectives
One of the worst things about going through something really difficult is that it completely drains you of your ability to see things from a different perspective. No matter what you’re going through, it can be incredibly difficult to imagine things any other way. This can make you feel lonely, frustrated and hopeless. If your friend is feeling this way, then it’s your job to offer those different perspectives for them. You can remind them that the world isn’t just made up of the difficulties that they’re going through. Not only that but you can remind them of the future that is waiting for them when they are finally able to break out of whatever situation they are in.
Being in the middle of something can make figuring out a solution close to impossible. Often, your ability to see things from the outside and not be impacted by it directly is the only thing that allows you to see what that solution might be. Things like depression and substance abuse can strip someone of their ability to see a way out and make it feel as though their entire life is now built around those specific things. You, as someone who is not going through those things, can bring a sense of reality into it, reminding the person that you care about just how capable they are of making a change in their life and pulling themselves out of the pit that they’re in.
Let them know they’re not alone
Another way in which life can be incredibly difficult for someone dealing going through a rough patch is that it often makes them feel incredibly isolated. When everyone else seems to be doing just fine, but you’re stuck desperately trying to get out of bed the in the morning, it can feel as though you’re the only person in the world who knows what’s happening. If your friend or loved one is feeling like this, it’s your job to let them know that they’re not alone. That, no matter how isolated they may be feeling, you’re there for them. It might feel as though you’re never getting through but, in reality, even feeling like someone else understand, even a little bit, can make a huge amount of difference.
Of course, it’s not always your job to act as a therapist to your friends. Sometimes the very best thing that you can do is to offer a distraction that can stop them from obsessing over the problems that they’re dealing with. It doesn’t matter what it is; the important thing is that you’re able to both distract them and to remind them that there is a world outside where things really aren’t so bad.
One of the most important things to remember is also one of the most difficult: no matter how much help you offer, sometimes your friend just needs to take care of it themselves. You may be able to offer them huge amounts of support that they will likely be incredibly appreciative of. However, nine times out of ten, you can’t fix their problem for them. In the end, it needs to be their decision and their actions that help them get out whatever problem they’re in. It’s your job to be in their corner at all times so that they know that they do not have to face these things alone.