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Tips for supporting friends going through hard stuff
Understand, show support and just be there. All you have to do is be around. Let your friend know you understand they are going through a hard time and that you will be there if they want to talk or just hang out.
Recommend professional support. Talk to them about seeing someone professional – what it might be like, the pros and cons. You could offer to help them make phone calls, or go with them to get support.
Maintain contact. Visit, call, chat online and txt – however you choose, stay in contact. It’s important they don’t feel like they’re on their own with this.
Your limits matter. Sometimes, no matter what you do, it won’t be enough to make them feel okay – and that’s okay. People deal with this stuff in their own time and their own way.
Find support for yourself too. It’s really good to get some support for yourself too so you don’t feel alone in supporting them.
Respect their privacy. Don’t share what they talk about with others. Respect their privacy. They talk to you because they obviously trust you.
Invite them to share. Invite them to share how they experience things, and what they find helpful and unhelpful in terms of support.
Express your feelings. It’s okay to feel upset when you see them in a bad way. Make sure you talk to someone you trust about how you feel. Try to remember, some days will be better than others. Try to roll with it, and remember tomorrow is a new day.
No need to fix it. You don’t have to solve the problem or try to make everything better for them. Often friends just want support, comfort or someone to tell.
Don’t take things personally. There may be times when they don’t want to talk or see you. It doesn’t mean they are not wanting to be your friend anymore – let them you are there whenever they are ready.