I have a friend whose family life is in such a state of upheaval, I hope I never have to experience the same thing.
I want to help her, but I want to help her in productive ways. So I made a list and decided on five things I could do to help.
- Communicate: I know that she is inundated from family and friends who want specifics from her, so when I text, I simply tell her I hope she is doing okay and that there is no need to reply. I also sent her a note last week, thanking her for her continued friendship.
- Make them laugh: Laughter really can be the best medicine and I make a point to remember to tell her the latest funny pronouncements from The Boy Child or snippets of weird conversations I’ve overheard.
- Invite them for coffee/lunch: I try to invite my friend to meet up for coffee/lunch every week or 10 days. It’s important for us both, I think, to have a specific time to chat or to sit in companionable silence.
- Send them a care parcel: In my family, we call them JBPs – Just Because Presents. You know, a bar of ‘posh’ chocolate, a glossy magazine or a favourite snack.
- Listen: There’s no better way to show support than to listen and ask questions. Ask them to tell you how they’re doing, and actually listen. Ask follow-up questions instead of giving opinions, or, if you’re unsure what to say, ask what can I do to support you? It’s a great way to let your friend know you want to be there, and will let you know exactly what they need.
Is there anything else you would suggest that could help a friend who is a having a horrible time?