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10 Ways to Help a Friend Going Through a Tough Time

It’s important to be there for a friend who is going through a tough time, because we can’t go through things alone. But, even though we mean well, it can be hard to know how to support them. This can be really intimidating, because you don’t want to say the wrong thing, and you certainly don’t want to make them feel worse. So, I’ve put together ten tips to help you help others:

1. Listen to what they have to say. Really listen. Listen with the intention of understanding, rather than trying to listen in order to think of something to respond with. Sometimes, there’s just nothing you can say to make the situation better, and the best thing you can do is just be there.

2. Spend time with them. It’s important for someone who’s struggling to know that they’re not alone. By spending time with them even when they’re feeling low, you’re showing them that you’ll be there for them. People who are going through a tough time may also distance themselves from others as they become more and more stressed, so spending time with your struggling friend keeps them from being lonely.

3. Check on your friends, even your strong friends. Just asking someone how they’re really doing can go a long way. And if someone says they’re fine, double check by asking, “Are you sure?”. We’ve all lied and said that we were doing okay when we really weren’t at least once in our lives, but it’s important for our friends to know that they don’t need to lie to us about that. Stay in contact with the friends you know are struggling, and continue checking in on them to make sure they’re still doing okay.

4. Ask them how you can help. Different people experience emotions differently, and need different things to help them feel themselves again. Some people like a distraction from their thoughts, while some like to vent and talk about their issues, and others just need a hug. It’s much easier to just ask someone what they need rather than trying to guess what you think they might want.

5. Encourage them. Let them know that you’re rooting for them, and remind them of how great you think they are. If you’re proud of them, tell them. Kind words can change someone’s day around!

6. Educate yourself. Taking the time to understand what a person is going through can mean a lot to them. Doing some research on their issue can make it easier to empathize with how they are feeling, and you may have a better idea of how to support them. Knowing the five stages of grief, for example, could help you assist a person through a loss. Additionally, if your loved one is struggling with a mental illness, you can find plenty of information at

7. Don’t judge them. Just don’t. Ever. The reality is that even if you can empathize with their situation, you’re not in their shoes. They’re doing the best they can given their circumstances!

8. Don’t pressure them to talk about it. Let them know that you’re there to listen if they want to talk, but forcing someone to talk about something can do more harm than good. To help someone open up to you about their struggles, show them how supportive you are and that you’ll be accepting of whatever they choose to tell you or not tell you.

9. Offer to help with some daily tasks. Daily tasks like cooking and cleaning can feel so overwhelming when the rest of life in general feels overwhelming. These things can easily get left behind, and then they build up, which is even more stressful. Offering to help cook a meal together or help with the dishes can help a struggling friend a LOT.

10. Help them get help. Whether you encourage them to tell a loved one, or speak to a professional, it’s important to steer your friend towards getting more support. You can also save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number in your phone so it’s there when you need it: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). However, if your friend is in an emergency crisis situation, call 911.

Thanks for reading! Now you’re better equipped to help your loved ones get through a tough time! Let me know in the comments if you have any other things that helped you support a friend. XOXO, Lauren

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