We all can relate to those times that we just took a beating from life. You might have friends who are struggling with a form of mental illness, a physical sickness, a loss of a job, or other family dilemmas. It can be hard to watch one of your best friends suffer and feel helpless to do anything about it. I know when I’ve had friends whose parents are divorcing, reeling from a bad breakup, or who are struggling with depression, I often felt like I was adding to their stresses by bothering them. But, as I got older, I realized that true friendship is being there when times are tough.
So what are some ways you can support your friends without being overbearing?
It doesn’t matter that you don’t know what to ask them or how to relate to how they’re feeling, it just matters that you’re there. So make yourself available. Tell them to text you or call you if they need anything. When they are finally ready to talk, don’t interrupt, don’t try to fix them, just listen to what they have to say, they will appreciate it more than you know.
Send Them An Encouraging Note
I have a box at my house that is filled to the brim with every birthday card, beautiful piece of stationery paper, and encouraging note messily scrawled on a piece of notebook paper. I love to look back on the times that my friends took a minute to tell me how important I am to them. If I’m ever having a bad day, I break out those notes to remind me of my true worth. So take the time to send them a note in the mail, put in an uplifting Pinterest quote or Bible verse, and tell them how much you love them. They need to be reminded that they are strong. This is perfect if you live far away from your friend.
Don’t Give Up On Them
Especially if you have a friend who is struggling with a mental illness, they might try to start isolating themselves from everyone around them because they feel so terrible. Don’t let them. I’m not saying you should force them to go out with you on a Friday night, but take them food or watch a movie with them when they say they can’t hang out for the 100th time. Spend time with them, even if they don’t want it. As someone who has struggled with anxiety in the past, I used to feel so bad about neglecting my friends when I was feeling sick, but I appreciated it so much when people reached out to me or actually wanted to hang out with me in my mental state.
Make Them Dinner
Did you friend just go through the loss of a family member? Why not make some food. Nothing is the key to the heart quite like a frozen homemade meal. So give them one less thing to worry about this weekday night.
Buy Them Something They Love
Now don’t go and max out your credit card, but maybe get them something to show them you’re thinking of them. I personally love to give gifts to people, but everyone loves to receive gifts, even the Grinch did. Maybe send them their favorite type of flowers, their favorite type of tea, or a new shirt you thought they’d look amazing in.
Offer To Help Around The House
If they are in an awful funk, it might be great to ask them if they need some help around the house. This could be cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, or even watching their kids if they have some. Everyone can use an extra hand, especially if they just went through something traumatic.
Once again, I will stress that I give the world’s worst hug, so I hate them, but even when I’m upset I enjoy a good bear hug. Even if you don’t know what to say, how to say it, or even what to do, just envelope them in a hug. Sometimes we don’t need words to communicate effectively.
Pray For Them
Now you might not be a religious person, but if you are, try to include them in your daily prayer life. Ask God to give them strength during this difficult season.
Make Them Laugh Often
You might be afraid that you will never see your bestie smile again, but with your help, they can. Send them those inappropriate memes you both love, send them jokes every morning, or hilarious SnapChats. You might not be able to make them laugh out loud, but you’ll definitely brighten their day.
I hope that these tips can help you as you are helping your friends that are working through tough spots. Just remember real friends, love in all seasons. Go out and brighten someone’s day today!