Feature Image by Priscilla Du Preez

Supporting a friend through a hard time can be difficult, but true friendship is about being there for someone in both the good and bad times. Like any relationship, friendships have their highs and lows, but it’s important to let them know you care no matter what.

So if you’re not sure exactly what to do or say to support your friend, check out the five tips below for helping them through a rough patch.

Let them know you’re there to help
We all need a listening ear sometimes, but very rarely do people ask for help. Rather than expressing their feelings, your friend might bottle up their emotions and shut down. This coping mechanism makes it tough to understand the other person’s situation. So when this happens, just let your friend know that you’re there for them. You don’t need to push or pry, just simply send a text or call them to check in regularly.

Be empathetic
Empathy can go a long way, so try putting yourself in their shoes to truly understand where they’re coming from. If a friend confides in you about a situation, listen, let them communicate, and try acknowledging their feelings by saying things like “I’m sorry you’re going through this” or “I’m here for you if you need anything.”

Don’t jump to conclusions
When a friend chooses to share their feelings and private issues with you, rather than offering advice and drawing conclusions of what you would do, just let them speak openly and freely. All too often we think we’re helping friends and family by offering unsolicited advice, but that only frustrates the other person and can make them more closed off.

Remember it’s about them
This isn’t the time to tell your friend how to handle any situation. Whatever they’re going through likely has nothing to do with you. Rather than trying to level with them by saying things like “I get it,” try to understand that they need only to discuss their own issues at the time.

Don’t judge the situation
A lot of people have a hard time opening up for fear of judgment, and judging your friend for the way they react to any given situation is a recipe for disaster. It’s important to not let judgment cloud your ability to listen and be there for your friend. Maybe your friend has done something that you don’t agree with, but judging them will only complicate your relationship and make them feel even worse.

xx, The FabFitFun Team