What to Say When You Are at a Loss for Words
How to Help a Friend During Difficult Times
There are so many times in life when you want to say something, but don’t know how to put it into words. Are you worried that you might say or do the wrong thing? This is a common worry, that many of us face. This fear can stop us from reaching out, during times when we are needed the most. Below I have outlined some helpful tips, for dealing with some of the most difficult situations.
A Friend is Going Through a Divorce
Going through a divorce is a tough time for everyone involved. Depending on the circumstances, your friend might be feeling a variety of emotions: sadness, anger, loneliness and grief, these are just to name a few. As this chapter of their life closes, it is important to support them through the next. As your friend separates from their spouse, they will be adjusting to living independently and might feel a little lost.
Going through a divorce can be an extremely stressful and emotional time. Starting over as a single person, brings a lot of new challenges. No matter what the reason(s) are for their separation, do you best to not judge and be supportive. Let your friend talk about his/her feelings, if they want to but, do your best to not weigh in on their decision. Offer to help, if they need assistance getting there living situation sorted out and make yourself available (when possible) to help keep them from feeling alone.
A Friend is Terminally Ill
The worst thing you can do is walk out of their life when they are going through something unbearable. Be present and let them know that you care. If the are receiving treatments offer to drive them. Do things that will make their day to day living easier and more enjoyable. Make them laugh and try to boost their spirits. Let them decide to bring up the tough topics and follow their lead.
It is hard for you to be losing someone that you love, but even harder for your friend who is coming to the end of his/her life. Let them know that you are there, if they want to talk and lend an ear and shoulder to cry on. As sad as you feel inside, it is important to keep going and to help boost their mood as much as possible. Plan fun things that you can do together and make every visit/time together memorable. Be the person you would want them to be if the shoe was on the other foot.
A Friend is Suicidal
This is a very frightening time for you, when you learn that your friend is having suicidal thoughts. The fact that they chose to confine this deeply personal information with you, means that they trust you and are reaching out for help. You must take this cry for help seriously and offer your friend love and support. Help the person by being present. Don’t make the person feel judged or blamed for having these feelings. Don’t ask the person why they are having these thoughts. This question will only encourage defensiveness and might seem judgmental. Instead, let them talk openly about their feelings, remind them that you care and help them work through their problems. and encourage them to seek help.
No matter what the situation is, don’t let being afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing, stop you from being there for someone you care about. Even if you don’t have the perfect words or know exactly what to do, being present goes along way in helping the person heal.
When someone is going through something traumatic or extremely difficult, a lot of people will walk out of their life. It might be a defense mechanism or due to being scared that they don’t know how to deal with the situation. Whatever the reason, it is never okay to walk away. Do the right thing and step up when others cowardly walk away. Being a true friend means, being there in both the good times and the bad times. It is during the bad times, when your friends need the support from their family and friends the most.