Five Ways to Help a Stressed-Out Friend

I have a friend whose family life is in such a state of upheaval, I hope I never have to experience the same thing.

Tea, pastries and a care package

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

12 thoughts on “Five Ways to Help a Stressed-Out Friend

  1. Those are all great things. The only other thing I try to do is when they comment on something that needs doing – offer to do it with a specific time/date, otherwise you’re adding to their to do list to remember to ask/decide if you meant it etc. etc.

    But yes just listening and being there is such a blessing. Hope things improve for your friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A great list of thoughtful things. You are so right to include things that might make her smile, because no matter how important it is to be able to talk about the situation, it is good to have something to take her mind off things for a short while. I am sure that she is grateful to have you to speak to about things that she may not feel able to say to family. I’m sorry she is going through a challenging time, but she’s lucky to have you as such a supportive friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We were together for about 2 hours, so I hope it helped her. She said later that she found the chocolate in her care package at just the right time!


  3. You are indeed a good friend Ruth. Sometimes, I think, just listening & not offering a solution is one of the greatest gifts you can give a friend.

    I received some very happy mail from you today – thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These are perfect! Having gone through a very troubled & traumatic time last year, I was so grateful for friends who continued to reach out with texts or emails or invitations to lunch. Just knowing they were thinking about & praying for me made a world of difference even when I didn’t feel like meeting up. And a little happy mail was always welcome!


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