If there’s one thing worse than going through hardships, it’s watching someone you care about go through a tough time instead. We all have the natural urge to help a loved one when times are hard, but what’s the best course of action?
Don’t Avoid the Issue
For many people, it’s often a gut reaction to never directly address the issue itself. If someone is going through a difficult period, then it will probably be better if they forget about it, right? Unfortunately, a large part of coping with any issue is first accepting and discussing it, so you should never directly avoid the topic completely. Talking about issues out loud – even if you can’t offer anything in the way of advice or solutions – can still prove very therapeutic. Refusing to acknowledge it, on the other hand, only makes it seem bigger than it actually is.
Avoid Passing Judgment
Nobody likes to be judged and it often makes us uncomfortable talking about sensitive or personal issues. This is just as true when dealing with people close to us, which is why you should never try to pass judgment on a loved one. If you’re there to help, then your contrary opinions will not be helpful at all. Even if you disagree with various topics, it’s more important that you are there to listen and help as a friend, rather than comment on the nature of right and wrong.
Don’t Turn It into a Personal Issue
Similarly, always remember that it’s their problem, not yours. While it may seem useful to offer comparisons, your friend or family member might only see this as a direct comparison. If you mention how you dealt with your own events, are you not trying to openly compare situations and, by context, yourselves? Even if it makes sense, nobody wants to hear that you know how they feel, as it often sounds patronizing, diminishing the importance of their situation. Talking about other events, no matter how similar, will come across like a suggested course of action.
Part of getting over any difficult period in life is making the various options and choices that comprise everyday life. However, such traumatic times can often occupy people’s time up so, as a friend, you have to offer some gentle encouragement. Try being there to offer the smallest choices at first, such as where to eat for lunch? This will offer small distractions here and there, as well as helping your loved one get their mind back on the important things in life.
Consider Additional Help or Support
Depending on the situation in question, there’s nothing wrong with suggesting professional help or support. As someone who cares about them, you’ll always be there, but therapy and the likes of grief counseling also exist for a reason. Don’t be afraid to offer these possibilities and remind the person in question that there is never any shame in getting help.
Keep an Eye on Their Physical Health
When the mind suffers, the body is never too far behind. It’s human nature to neglect our physical needs when dealing with times of crisis. As a friend or loved one, you should be there to ensure those you care about are taking care of themselves. This is another reason why it’s good to ask where to eat for lunch, for instance, since it encourages vital tasks such as eating. It’s also another reason why it’s important to keep an eye on someone regularly, so you can notice any changes.
Find Things You Both Enjoy
Although you should never avoid the issue itself, mentioned earlier, you should still focus on things that the two of you enjoy and appreciate. This isn’t about a distraction; it’s about reminding someone you care about of the great things in life that they still love. It also helps them to keep them socializing – even if it is just the two of you – and staying active.
Finally, no matter how long it takes, some things just can’t be rushed. Everyone comes to terms with problems in their own time. This means that, even when it would take you a shorter amount of time, you should be very patient when it comes to helping others. If you show irritation or impatience, this might just backfire and produce more negative feelings for the person you care about.
A lot of this may vary depending on the nature of the event in question, but the core concepts always remain the same. If you’re patient, available and ready to listen, you’ll always provide a helping hand to those who need it, even when you don’t realize it yourself.
Robert Bruce has a passion for lending his voice towards multiple issues involving the funeral and memorial industry. When he’s not working with Great Lakes Caskets, he enjoys his hobby as a writer.