Friendships are one of the most important parts of our lives. They take precedence over dozens of things and are the things that get us through the difficult times.
We ourselves know just how much a good friend can improve our lives. It might be the simple act of a phone call when we’re feeling a little low. It might be a surprise birthday party when we were just expecting a couple of drinks at the bar. However, it can also be the case that good friendship is the thing that gets us through the roughest patches of our lives.
We all know that life is not always plain sailing. Instead, it is far more like a rollercoaster. While friends are there for each other at the high points, they should also be there at the low points. This could be after something bad at work, like a redundancy or difficulties with a manager. It could be an issue they’ve battling in themselves, like depression. Or perhaps an alcohol addiction, or a drug-based problem like an opiate addiction. Likewise, it could be issues in their personal relationships, like their marriage or issues with teenagers.
Whatever the issue is, these low points will occur. So, as a friend, how you can support your loved ones after they’ve been through a rough patch.
Firstly, it is widely advised that you prioritize listening over giving advice. Sometimes, the very best medicine a person can have is having someone to listen to them. So, demonstrate that you are listening very clearly. Turn your phone to silent and put it away. Keeping it in front of you and continually checking it is not a sign of listening and focusing! Sit facing them, and treat them to direct eye contact. Both of these things, while small and subtle, can make the speaker feel a lot more comfortable. They will also feel like you are properly invested in what they want to say, and their feelings. However, do hold back on offering your own judgment on a situation. Let’s say your friend is talking about a big argument with their partner. If you start calling their partner horrible names, what happens if they make up the next day? So, keep your personal opinions to yourself, unless asked for them. If you are asked, be measured in what you say. In order to offer this listening ear, you don’t have to go far. Offer to visit them, or invite them to your home.
However, consider that what your friend may actually need is a fresh environment. Whatever their rough patch has been, afterward, a new perspective can be incredibly valuable. So, how about arranging to go away together. This could just be a trip to a nearby city, and a new coffee shop. You could treat them to a spa day. Or how about you book a trip together? Some new scenery and some fun activities could really give them that boost they need to move on from their difficult period.