Tag Archives: supporting others

How To Support

Saying the right words or finding specific ways to help are some of the most important things you can do when someone you care about is struggling.

Ideas to consider might include:
1. “Thank you for all you do for me/us, but now is a time to take care of yourself as well.”

When someone is going through a difficult experience, they might not be able to justify a much-needed break. Help them by letting them know that you’d like to take over some responsibilities while they tend to their needs. For example, you can order food for them, ask if you can return phone calls or make appointments, or even just check-in daily with somebody going through a hard time. It can make a big difference.

If you’re far away from a loved one, and can’t be there in person, consider sending a care package with food or some of their favorite things, in addition to a personal message of support.

2. Remind your person of something kind they did for you.
They have probably been there for you when you were going through hard times. Remind them of this when they’re in the same boat. They’ll be happy to know they made you feel better. More importantly, hearing about how they helped you may make them feel a little bit better.

3. “I’m proud of you.”
These are powerful words.

Depending on the nature of your relationship with, there’s a good chance this important person would love to hear that you’re proud of the way they are dealing with a painful experience.

4. “My job is to make your life easier right now. This is how I’m going to do it. Does that work?”
People need to support each other when one is in pain. However, if you only ask a loved one “How can I help?” when they are struggling, they might not actually let you know. Instead, offer to make their life easier during this painful time in specific ways.

What to Say to a Friend Experiencing Hard Times. Friends aren’t just people we share fun times with. They’re also the people we may turn to when life is difficult. If you know a friend would like to hear from you right now, get in touch to share one of these messages:

5. “I hate that you’re going through this, but I know that you’ve got this. How can I best support you? “
People want to know their friends don’t just like them but admire them as well. Tell a friend going through a tough time that you know they have the strength to overcome it.

6. “You’ve got a lot on your plate. Can we set a time to chat every week?”
You can suggest a specific time each week when they can call you to vent. Some of my patients tell me this gives them an area to vent, cry, and be able to process their week.

7. “Remember when you were there for me? It’s my turn to do the same for you.”
Most friends going through hard times often feel better when someone reminds them that they’ve been a big help in the past. It’s easier to except help when you realize that you are not a victim, and that you have been strong in the past.

Let your friend know you want to support them by reminding her of a specific time when they did the same for you. This will boost your friend’s odds of actually accepting your offer to help.

8. “You’re my best friend. Helping in any way I can is my top priority right now. Please believe that.”

What to Say to an Acquaintance or Colleague Who’s Going Through a Rough Patch

When I had a beloved dog who passed away, I had colleagues at work who pulled together to help me with all of the vet appointments when I had to take time off.

9. “Here’s how we’re going to take care of your work while you’re away.”
A colleague going through a rough patch may need to take a step back from work for a period of time to address other needs. This may be true if your colleague is in mourning, struggling with illness, or dealing with a life challenge that consumes a lot of their time.

Your colleague might stress about work and wonder who will be handling all the responsibilities until they get back. You can help your colleague in a very big way by coordinating with supervisors and coworkers to divvy up responsibilities. Get in touch and show your colleague you have work responsibilities under control.

10. “If you need a reference, networking help, anything like that at all, let me know. Happy to help!”
There’s a chance you might be able to help by serving as a reference or introducing your colleague to others in your industry. Offering to help in these key practical ways could make your colleague feel cared for.

Read more on the importance of compassion The Science of Compassion.

The Power of Texting

Beautiful artwork, P. Cochrane

Sending a supportive text has been shown to be of significant benefit for someone struggling to cope.
What to say to a loved one:

8 Texts For Mental Health Support

  • The specific offer of help text
    Hey, I’m going to the store shortly, what are some things I can pick up for you? I’m taking the dog to the park later, can I come by and pick up yours to take with us?
  • The you are not alone text
    Why don’t we go for a walk this afternoon? Would you like to watch a movie together tonight from our own homes? Let’s FaceTime later today.
  • The checking-in text
    Just wanted to check on you, no rush to reply. I’m here.
  • The gratitude text
    I really appreciate you and having you in my life.
  • The thoughtful gift text
    I wanted to let you know I swung by and left some beer/wine/coffee and snacks at your front door.
  • The timing and dosage text
    I’m here to talk when you feel like it and as little or as much as you want to say. Or, I can come by and we can both sit quietly together.
  • The photo text
    Here’s a picture of this beautiful beach… It’s so soothing to imagine being there with you.
  • The solidarity text
    You are not alone.  I can come with you to…

How You Can Support a Loved One Going Through a Hard Time

People need one another, and saying the right words is one of the most important things you can do when your loved one is struggling.

Photo, 2018, Outer Banks North Carolina, Sanderling Hotel, Duck

Ideas to consider include:
1. “Thank you for all you do for me/us, but now is a time to take care of yourself as well.”

When someone is going through a difficult experience, they might not be able to justify a much-needed break. Help them by letting them know that you’d like to take over some responsibilities while they tend to their needs. I know someone who orders food, makes appointments, and checks in daily with somebody going through a hard time. It makes a big difference.

If you’re far away from a loved one, and can’t be there in person, consider sending a care package with food or some of their favorite things, in addition to a personal message of support.

2. Remind your person of something kind they did for you.
They have probably been there for you when you were going through hard times. Remind them of this when they’re in the same boat. They’ll be happy to know they made you feel better. More importantly, hearing about how they helped you may make them feel a little bit better.

3. “I’m proud of you.”
These are powerful words.

Depending on the nature of your relationship with, there’s a good chance this important person would love to hear that you’re proud of the way they are dealing with a painful experience.

4. “My job is to make your life easier right now. This is how I’m going to do it. Does that work?”

People need to support each other when one is in pain. However, if you only ask a loved one “How can I help?” when they are struggling, they might not actually let you know. Instead, offer to make their life easier during this painful time in specific ways.

What to Say to a Friend Experiencing Hard Times
Friends aren’t just people we share fun times with. They’re also the people we may turn to when life is difficult. If you know a friend would like to hear from you right now, get in touch to share one of these messages:

5. “I hate that you’re going through this, but I know that you’ve got this.”
People want to know their friends don’t just like them but admire them as well. Tell a friend going through a tough time that you know they have the strength to overcome it.

6. “You’ve got a lot on your plate. Can we set a time to chat every week?”
You can suggest a specific time each week when they can call you to vent. Some of my patients tell me this gives them an area to vent, cry, and be able to process their week.

7. “Remember when you were there for me? It’s my turn to do the same for you.”

Most friends going through hard times often feel better when someone reminds them that they’ve been a big help in the past. It’s easier to except help when you realize that you are not a victim, and that you have been strong in the past.

Let your friend know you want to support them by reminding her of a specific time when they did the same for you. This will boost your friend’s odds of actually accepting your offer to help.

8. “You’re my best friend. Helping in any way I can is my top priority right now. Please believe that.”

Go the extra mile by wearing your heart on your sleeve. Tell your friend what their friendship has meant to you, and why helping in any way possible is very important to you.

What to Say to an Acquaintance or Colleague Who’s Going Through a Rough Patch

When I had a beloved dog who passed away, I had colleagues at work who pulled together to help me with all of the vet appointments and the loss itself. 

9. “Here’s how we’re going to take care of your work while you’re away.”
A colleague going through a rough patch may need to take a step back from work for a period of time to address other needs. This may be true if your colleague is in mourning, struggling with an illness, or otherwise dealing with a life challenge that consumes a lot of their time.

Your colleague might stress about work and wonder who will be handling all the responsibilities until they get back. You can help your colleague in a very big way by coordinating with supervisors and coworkers to divvy up responsibilities. Get in touch and show your colleague you have work responsibilities under control.

10. “If you need a reference, networking help, anything like that at all, let me know. Happy to help!”

A colleague may be going through a tough time because they got unexpectedly laid off. There’s a chance you might be able to help by serving as a reference or introducing your colleague to others in your industry. Offering to help in these key practical ways could make your colleague feel safer and better.

8 Ways to Support Others During Tough Times

Life is vulnerable; uncertainty is the only certainty. Pema Chodron has written a great book about this, the places that scare you, that I highly recommend. At one time or another, we will all go through a difficult time, whether we deal with financial hardship, health problems, death of a loved one, catastrophe, crisis, or relational breakdown. In psychology, we have a list of psychosocial stressors that include bereavement, breakups, housing problems or transitions, health problems, financial troubles, loss of work identity, and domestic or other abuse. Often people may experience more than one area of hardship simultaneously.

In those times, we need each other more than ever, but it’s not just enough to be surrounded by people. We, as supporters, need to be educated in the best way to love our friends and family through tough times.

How do we reach out to others? In tough times, circling the wagons and looking out for yourself and your immediate family becomes instinctual for many people. However, more than ever, we actually need each other. Often people don’t know what to do. They may even cause great harm by saying do not cry or just get over it.

1. Silence speaks louder than words misspoken.
Don’t ignore them. Plain and simple. If you don’t know what to say, don’t avoid them. Say something. Ninety nine percent of what you could say is better than saying nothing at all. I tell my clients to speak as close to the truth as possible. Which means sharing process. You could say, I don’t know what to say, but I really love you and I just want you to know that.

2. Don’t make them ask you for help.
Do they need help? Absolutely. Do they want to ask? Absolutely not. There is nothing more humbling than having to admit that you don’t have your life under control, and for all the people pleasers out there, asking people for something as simple as meals or free babysitting is something we’d rather avoid. We’d rather tough it out than beg.
Instead, offer your help, and offer specific ways that you would like to help.

3. Don’t rush them through their pain.
Saying things like “I know exactly how you feel” or telling me a story of your cousin’s boyfriend’s aunt’s struggle and how she made it through. While we may say things with good intentions, it can also serve to minimize their issues and urge them to stifle their pain. Yes, what they are going through has probably been faced before. Yes, people do survive. Yes, things might get better. Yes, to all the things. People need to know that the pain they feel is real and they need to move through it. They need to get a little messy and be a little more honest and feel a little more, because if they move through it too quickly or try to avoid their feelings, they might not heal just the right way.

A doctor doesn’t just give a sling with no cast to someone who has severely broken their arm. The doctor gives a cast. The doctor prescribes time for healing, because they know that if the healing is rushed, the bone may also not heal properly. In the same way, we need to give time for others to move through their pain rather than rush them. Instead, sit with them. Listen. Let them be honest when life is hard. Let them be angry. Let them be whatever they need to be, and resist the urge to fix them, heal them, or placate them. Just be with them.

4. Don’t give unsolicited advice.
Even if you have been in the situation before, support, but don’t preach. This includes all cliche and trite phrases and platitudes. You may have heard them said before, but that doesn’t mean they are helpful. Instead, listen, love, give. Give time, energy, resources… give yourself. Just don’t give advice when they haven’t asked.

5. Don’t give them magic formulas.
If they stand on their head, count to 30, twice and backwards, confess everything they have ever done, change their past mistakes, then this tough situation would no longer be happening to them. There is no magic formula. Life is hard and messy and it doesn’t negate the goodness in this world, but it does assign blame and guilt to the situation, one of the last things that someone who is suffering needs is to be shamed. Instead, let them know you are thinking of them, praying for them, loving them, and cheering them on.

6. Don’t make it about yourself.
Essentially, don’t complain about how your friend’s tough time makes you feel. If you are close, you will be affected, but if they are closer to the problem than you, then they are not the person to whom you should vent. Instead, you should offer them support. Check on them. Love them. Let someone else support you to stay on track.

7. Don’t forget the person.
With all of the above tips, don’t just follow them in a rote fashion. The beauty in each of us is that we are unique individuals with different backgrounds, personalities, experiences, and circumstances. Instead, consider the recipient. Some people want hugs. Some people aren’t touchy-feely. Some people want company. Some people prefer to sit alone. Some people want you to do things without asking, some people want you to run it past them first. Some people want someone to cry with and talk to, some people reserve that trust for a select few. Consider who they are before you act, and support them accordingly.

8. There is no timeline for grief and loss.
People may return to a place where loss feels fresh again. It’s not linear. Let people have whatever time they need. There’s no time limits or quotas.

Say a little less. Love a little more.
Life is messy, but with love, we can help each other survive even the toughest times.
#SpiralUp

Embolden Psychology
Embolden

Embolden offers the ADOS-2, the gold standard assessment for kids on the spectrum.

Combined with psychoeducational testing, it helps provide comprehensive information and recommendations to help children and teens six and up.

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