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Nothing appears to be going right. The worst part? No one gets it, even though they might claim to. Even though you know this is all temporary—it always is—you feel the need to ask other people what you should do.
Think back real hard—what in particular helped or irked you about advice people gave you? Did they tell you to stop feeling sorry for yourself because other people have bigger problems?
Did they offer some platitudes or cliche advice that sounded impossible to follow? When friends have problems that seem incurable and never-ending, you can sense that hopelessness. And even if other people have much larger problems, we still dwell on our own because what matters, in that moment, is how we feel. Realizing this is key to delivering good advice.
The best way to be a friend is to enable both what they want to do and what they need to do. Want: tell the story repeatedly, as if they can change how they feel if they just talk about it enough. Need: work through it and let it go. You can likely still empathize on some level. You can still be an ear, take some time to think about it, and then share your thoughts later.
When someone comes to you for help, odds are they already feel pretty vulnerable. It can Best advice for a friend gratifying to figure out what seems like the answer and then deliver it in a sermon. Your friend could approach her boss exactly like you did for a raise and end up being demoted—at which point she might blame you.
Keep expectations realistic by focusing on possibilities within the realm of uncertainty. If you tell your sister to take a risk, make sure she knows it is a risk. When you make the proactive decision to find answers for yourself, you feel both empowered and confident in your ability to make the right decision. You can help your friend feel that way by pointing him in the direction of a few books that will help him help himself.
Another option is to be there with kindness instead of words. Plan a fun weekend getaway or day trip for the budget-conscious with your friend. Set the date in stone and make an unforgettable memory. People often find answers for themselves when they get away, let themselves relax, and clear their head for a while. Actions speak louder, anyway.
But if you do have something to say, know how you say it can make a world of difference. This post was co-written by Lori Deschene.
Photo by Damian Gadal. Maelina was born knowing she wanted to pursue writing. In her spare time, she writes poetry, hikes mountains, and wines-and-dines with good company. This site is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other professional advice. The content on Tiny Buddha is deed to support, not replace, medical or psychiatric treatment.
Please seek professional care if you believe you may have a condition.
Be honest. Avoid judging. Make it a collaboration. Offer long-term support. Recommend a read. Say it from the heart. Make plans. About Maelina Frattaroli Maelina was born knowing she wanted to pursue writing.
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