SUPPORTING THOSE WE LOVE
When a friend is going through a transition, a tough time, a new experience, it’s natural to want to offer help and support them, but how do we do it?
If you stop and think about the instances when you’ve needed help, can you remember how people supported you or what you found most helpful? Did people step up or did they step away? Were they too intrusive or too distant? Sometimes it can be hard on both sides, the people in need and the ones who want to help. One thing for sure is, as humans, we are pretty self reliant. Blanket statements like “let me know if you need anything” will often be left unanswered because 99% of the time, people don’t know what they need and are unlikely to actually take you up on that offer. Rather than depending on others, they rather figure things out themselves. This statement leaves responsibility on said person to let you know if they need something, when you should actually be taking the initiative to alleviate added stress. I'm not going to lie, we're all guilty of making this statement, with the best intentions, but let's start eliminating this phrase from our vocabulary.
It’s normal to want to help, but understandable if you don’t know where to actually start. Today I wanted to speak to you guys on how you can really be present and support the people you love with whatever they may be going through. It could be a transition to a new job, becoming a mom, having a loved one pass. Whether it’s a happy or sad time, transitions can be both emotional and stressful and a little bit of kindness can leave the sweetest memory. I can still remember how much the smallest gestures brought genuine smiles in my darkest moments, and often they were the simplest things, but they truly made an impact.
Here a few things you can do to support someone you love, when they need it :
Be specific in what you’re offering: rather than asking open ended questions that rely on the person in need deciding on an answer, be more specific in what you’re offering. For instance “ I’m grabbing coffee, would you like one?”, “ I’m going to the grocery store to grab bread, would you like me to grab some for you?” These simple gestures can really bring a smile, because its usually something we didn’t know we needed. That fresh sip of coffee can change your mood, having someone grab something from the grocery store can remove the stress of that chore.
Send an order of food - rather than flower arrangements, or gift baskets, food is always the way to the heart. With Seamless, Uber Eats (and the list goes on) at our finger tips, it's super easy to send a plate of fresh, warm food to someone who simply may not have the time to wrap their head around meal prepping. Maybe you could send their favorite meal, or order from their favorite restaurant. It’s something so small, but means SO MUCH! Because we all know how much a hassle cooking can be when you have a million other things going on.
Plan a date - be assertive, tell your friend you want to see them, plan a date. Sometimes people need to get out of their head and leave the house, but they’re unlikely to take the initiative to make plans. Thats where you can come in, a simple text stating “dinner tomorrow?” Or “drinks this Friday?” can really bring a smile to someones face, and they’re more likely to come out.
Stop listening to respond, just listen- if someone wants to vent or get something off their chest, just be there and listen. Often times they don’t need a response, just a listening ear. These are the times when it’s best to not make a situation about yourself. It’s so easy to bring up a relatable story, but thats usually the last thing someone needs. As the saying goes, sometimes less is more.
Be present: a simple text or check-in can really put people who are in high stress situations in a better mood. I’m not saying to text them your current work drama, but a simple heart emoji, or an “I was thinking of you, hope you have a good day” can make an impact on someones day. Don’t expect people to give you daily updates on what’s going on with them, it’s your job to check-in with them! Who wants to text someone when they haven't been present? This is when being present matters the most!
These five simple acts of thoughtfulness are things that could actually help someone when they need it. Let’s stop saying empty blanket statements thinking you’ve done your job in being “present”. let’s actually be present, let’s support people we love when they need it the most, lets do more than just talk, but go into action!
Be mindful of what people really need more than what you think they want to hear.
And on that note, have a great week !