Friendship Woes: Tips for Growing Together
When your friend, coworker, family member or anyone in your life is suffering, it can take a toll on your relationship. Here are a few tips to console and grow together.
When someone isn’t feeling like themselves, there are a lot of influencing factors. Make a conscious choice to be patient with your friendship. Give them the benefit of the doubt when they're feeling down, angry, or frustrated. It’s easy to get annoyed with someone, but make an effort to take a step back from the situation. There are going to be missed calls, canceled plans, and last-minute upsets. Do not take it personally; they’re going through more than you even know. Patience can be a saving grace.
Make sure your friend or family member knows you’re available to them. Sometimes they won’t take your invitation at all, and that’s okay! Offering personal availability lets them know they are not alone in this fight. You are on their side, always. Try different methods of communicating with them, call instead of text or send a card instead of a Facebook message. Use phrases like ‘I’m always free to chat when you’re feeling up to it.’ They won’t always feel like speaking out, but when they do, they’ll be happy to know they’re not bothering you.
Someone in an ongoing high-stress situation has millions of things passing through their mind and making dinner plans is not a high priority. Do the legwork for your friendship by making plans for your hangouts. Offer up a date and time to meet at your favorite restaurant, rent electric bikes for an afternoon, or sign up for a local cooking class. Decisions are easier made when the plan is already established. Additionally, creating unique plans for your friend reminds them of your dedication and caring nature.
Listen before Lecturing
It’s easier to pass judgment than a solution. When going through a rough patch, it can be hard to express your emotions without scrutiny. Let your friend shed their feelings, thoughts, and concerns to you in a judgment-free zone. Become an active listener who responds with thoughtful questions and inviting body language. Take a positive approach when responding to questions, instead of falling back into a sadness loop. It’s important to ensure that they are being heard, avoid giving negative unsolicited advice. It’s time they held the mic.
Every friendship is different, but sometimes it's important to accept that one person’s suffering might change your relationship forever – that’s okay. When working through positive communication tactics, you can come out stronger side-by-side.
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