My dear friend recently returned home after moving overseas to live with her partner. They had broken up and she decided the best course of action was to move home. I was anticipating she would be quite broken-hearted and lost, but is actually quite relaxed and seemingly at ease. This got me thinking about how hard it is to be a good friend sometimes and to know what to say and do when someone you are close to is struggling. My favourite thing is just to listen and to validate.
What are your top tips for comforting/supporting friends?
@EarthMama it’s amazing how some people can just go with the flow despite changing their whole lives to be with someone! I have just had an experience with a friend who’s partner left her after 11 years and is trying to cancel her partner visa (she’s from Canada), she’s been really upset but has managed to sort out a new place to live and has got a job to sponsor her! I really felt that she just wanted to be listened to and to hear the validation that she was making the right choices (which of course we believe she is) – your top tips are definitely on point!
My top tip is to drop over a home-cooked dinner or their favourite ice-cream or chocolate if you are not into cooking. Cuddles also go a long way
My top tips involve genuinely listening and remembering it’s about the other person’s needs and what they want, more than what you can offer I suppose? Don’t get lost in wondering what you can do to help, just be there and ask.
I also like to draw or write nice things! Baking is good too, but I don’t have an oven so,,,I can’t do that haha
@stephaniaaaah and @tea – you both sound like lovely, thoughtful friends!
I third the sentiment about cuddles. Definitely works for me, although this particular friend is not so much about the physical touch. It is so important to show support, especially in the weeks and months later, when life is mostly back to normal and it feels like the world is forgetting.
Thanks so much, @earthmama same to you! Oh hmm good point about the physical touch thing though, I guess not everyone feels comfortable with that. Maybe, in that case, some words of affirmation would be good? Or you could offer to do some errands for them? Shout a coffee?
@tea ooh! Offering to do errands is a lovely one, I hadn’t thought of that. It would be so lovely for someone to offer that, I just imagine you would feel so held in other’s internal world, and so considered. Great suggestion!
Listening is such an underrated method of support. I’ve found that it’s even better to listen without necessarily weighing in or offering a solution, because when people are upset or stressed they might not be ready to hear it. But, comfort can go a long way in getting them there.
I like to let my friends take a load off and have them over for dinner, drinks or even a cup of tea.
So true about just listening without offering solutions @Aunt_Flo.
I’m studying counselling and one of the fundamental things we learn is how to resist offering solutions, as this can completely disempower the client and make them feel as if we don’t trust them with their own lives and decisions.
The best thing we can do for someone is hand them the reigns to their own life and remind them of how capable they are.