How to Help a Friend or Loved One Through a Hard Time

September 1, 2022

I talk a lot about self-care and can’t stress how important it is to maintain a healthy relationship with not only yourself but with your loved ones as well. Prioritizing your mental and physical health can help you fill up your cup, allowing you to effectively show up for the people in your life. 

While it can be tricky to know how to show up or respond, I have found through my educational background and personal experience that showing up and empathizing with a loved one are the two most important ways to help someone. 

Of course, there is more to be said and done in those moments, which can be a challenge for adults to admit to not knowing how. I still find myself having to turn back to some of my guidance from schooling and remind myself that the best thing to do is validate the person’s emotions, which is why I can say first hand having some guidance is beyond helpful.

Know Their Love Language 

The five love languages is a topic I have always been fascinated by, and I believe that understanding your loved one’s love languages can help you know how to navigate certain situations. For example, if your friend seems to always be asking you to come over and hang out, her love language may be “quality time.” If you have a friend whose love language is physical touch, they would probably love a big hug the next time you see them. 

Ask Them What They Need

Most people are afraid to tell their friends and family what they really want or need in a crisis. So take the burden off them and ask them what they would like you to do. Maybe they have an overflowing laundry basket but can’t seem to muster up the strength to take it down to the laundry room. A simple act of kindness can really go a long way and remind them just how important they are to you. 

Just Be There

When a friend is venting to us about a problem they’re having, it can be tempting to ramble on about a similar problem you once dealt with in an attempt to relate to them. However, sometimes all our loved ones need us to do is be present with them and listen. Just having you by their side is often enough to remind them that they’re not alone. 

Validate Their Feelings

Even if you have never personally dealt with what your loved one is going through, it is important to let them know that you hear them and that their feelings are valid. A simple “I can’t imagine what that must feel like. It makes so much sense that you’d feel this way given the situation. I’m here if you need anything,” can make a world of difference.