Periodically, we all face challenging situations. Obstacles, setbacks, and loses are a vital part of experiencing the fullness, and even the sweetness of life. Sometimes we are just not strong enough to get through these difficult times on our own. That is when a true friend will be your crutch, helping you get through it. It is nice to have the support of someone in your corner.
Friends can also be the first ones to notice changes in other friends. It may be a change in mood, certain behaviours, or in activities they previously enjoyed. You may have noticed that your friend seems to be tired all the time or easily irritated. Maybe they’ve stopped hanging out and spend more time alone. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint what’s different about them but generally you have a sense that something is wrong. Friends can pick up on something that is off – they know you almost as well as you know yourself.
Being a friend means being there when things are great and when things are not so great. Supporting a friend shows you care. And nothing is more important in a friendship than empathy and communication. When your friend is going through a difficult time, you must be able to convey your understanding, concern and support.
Here are some Dos and Don’ts when trying to help a friend.
- Allow your friend to heal and seek you out when they are ready.
- Offer advice if asked.
- Listen to the entire situation before jumping to conclusions.
- Provide a distraction to get your friend’s mind off the difficult situation.
- Invite your friend out to socialize.
- Help your friend with things they need.
- Force your friend to open up.
- Offer unsolicited advice.
- Rely on gossip or incomplete information to assess the situation.
- Badger your friend with repeated calls, texts, and emails. Sometime they need to be alone.
- Make the situation about you by comparing.
- Use guilt to force your friend into socializing with you.
- Try to run your friend’s life.
To nurture your friendships:
- Accept yourself. Cultivate a healthy, realistic self-image.
- Accept others. Don’t judge. Allow your friends the space they need to grow, change and make mistakes.
- Be positive.
- Don’t compete.
- Listen up. Pay attention to what is happening in their life.
- Respect boundaries. Keep confidential any personal information that is shared with you.
Be there for your friend during their difficult period, because you will want them there for you when you need them!
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