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Supporting Your Friends Through Tough Times

Posted by on Aug. 22, 2011 at 12:00 AM
  • 70 Replies

A friend is one who walks in when others walk out.
- Walter Winchill

Being a friend during the good times is easy. It's a no brainer to go to the movies with your friend, to have dinner or drinks together or talk on the phone for hours - or as long as your kids will let you do so.

It's a little bit more difficult to be friends during the tough times. I'll never forget the time that my best friend miscarried. I held her hand while she cried, brought her dinner and dessert and found a book that remembered her pregnancy. She was touched, and told me that it was more than anyone else did for her. That shocked me - why wouldn't someone support their friend?

It can be tough to be there in times of difficulty. You have to reach beyond yourself, to go into a difficult place and many of us are uncomfortable with that. That's what a true friend is, though - someone who is there with you in times of good and times of bad - much like your spouse.

Do you have a friend who is going through a tough time?Job loss? divorce? Fertility issues? Difficulty with her teenagers? Do you want to be there but just don't quite know what to do? Here are some ways that you can be supportive to your friend:

  • Listen - Above all, be there to listen to your friend, without reservation and without judgement. Don't use this time to tell your friend what you would have done in her situation, or how you've handled a similar scenario. It's not a time for you. It's a time for you to support your friend. There's a big difference.
  • Be There - Does she need someone to talk to at 3 a.m.? That might not work for you- but maybe it does. Tell your friend that if she needs you, you are available at this time - and be there. Don't screen your calls, or fail to return messages, or ignore emails. If you say you'll be there, be there. That's often the most critical form of support a person needs - just your presence.
  • Show Support - Does she need a dinner brought to her? Would a nice card lift her spirits? Maybe flowers, or candy, or just an email to say I'm thinking of you! Who doesn't love to feel as if they are important to someone else, and often the tangible signs are gratefully appreciated.
  • Be Positive - Even if you've battled infertility or infidelity and your outcome hasn't been successful, that doesnt' necessarily hold true for your friend. Try, as much as you can, to keep things positive, or at least neutral, especially in cases of divorce. I know of at least three scenarios where I've heard of someone divorcing, I've been vocal in my distaste for her spouse - and they've gotten back together. Which left me with egg on my face each and every time.

What are some situations that you've been a source of support for your friend? How have you shown this support?

by on Aug. 22, 2011 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Aug. 22, 2011 at 11:18 AM

 i have been there by just lending an ear, someone to hug, offering advice or just words of caring.. helping out any way i can, if i can...

by on Aug. 22, 2011 at 11:58 AM

I am terrible at knowing what to do sometimes. Do they need space? Or should I call MORE often? I just don't always know. Ugh. I hate that about me.

by on Aug. 22, 2011 at 1:13 PM

 My SIL is like a friend to me. Right now she has lung cancer and I am trying to be there for her. I always listen when she calls, and I made her and my brother some chicken noodle soup when she started chemo and I spent some time catching them up on their dishes because my brother needed help. I am trying to be there for my brother too, but I don't know if I am enough or not because this summer has been rather busy. I need to call my SIL on Wednesday and wish her a happy birthday. I also have a purell gift pack that I want to give her. She has her guests use purell when they stop by so that she doesn't have to worry about germs on hands at least. Her white blood count is down because of chemo and radiation treatments.

by on Aug. 22, 2011 at 2:53 PM

I'm there for a shoulder or listening ear, and then their always the cheering up part.

by on Aug. 22, 2011 at 3:12 PM

 I stay very positive in any given situation-or at least try :/

My friend wanted to leave her husband and I convinced her to stay and they worked out their problems amongst themselves. I feel very happy about that.

by on Aug. 22, 2011 at 4:34 PM

I'm pretty good at listening. my friends know they can vent to me anytime even if i don't have any advice to give.

by on Aug. 22, 2011 at 9:34 PM

I am basically a shoulder to cry on for my friends.. They vent to me and I try to give them comforting advice.

by on Aug. 22, 2011 at 9:35 PM

There have been a couple times that I allowed my friends to move in with me. Just so they would have a couple days/weeks away from the situation.

by on Aug. 22, 2011 at 11:48 PM

There is one friend that has been through a lot and I was there for her when her dad died in a car accident. I think I am the only friend of hers that still remembers the day he died and I text her or call her to make sure she's okay even though it was 6 years ago.

I always let my friends know whether it's good or bad to just call me.

by on Aug. 23, 2011 at 12:25 AM
i do everything i can to help my friends if they're having a hard time!
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