Written By Rachel Gersten
It can be incredibly overwhelming when someone close to you is having a hard time – for whatever reason. You want to be there for them but it may seem like there’s nothing you can do that will actually help. While there’s never one right way (or five right ways) to support someone, here are a few places to start.
Take something off their plate.
Visit them (COVID safely!) and empty their garbage cans without them asking. Bring over some lunch. Offer to take their dog out for a walk or their kid to the park. Pick up a prescription from the pharmacy.
One of the most overwhelming things when you’re having a difficult time is keeping all of the balls you normally juggle up in the air. Take one off their hands – even better if it’s something you can just do without asking.
Give them a hug.
Self explanatory. Hugs are great.
Tell them you love them.
Another easy one. Sure, they may know. We could all use a reminder anyway.
Give a gift you know they’ll appreciate.
While you can’t guarantee you’ll find the magic bullet that will automatically make their day better, if you know someone well, you can be sure of something they’ll appreciate in (almost) any situation. Cherry pie comes to mind for me here.
This can also be something less tangible, like sending a fun meme or a video you know they’ll appreciate via text or email.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the “perfect” thing to say or do to take away someone’s pain. Unfortunately, it’s likely that the perfect thing to say or do doesn’t exist because you can’t actually take away the pain of what they’re managing. Instead, just listen. Listen as they say everything and anything or nothing at all. It may seem like not enough, but so often literally just being there is the perfect thing to do.
If you’re still struggling to know where to start, just remember that doing something is always better than nothing. I’ve heard so many examples of people who get consumed with what they should do that they end up not showing up at all. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. Be there, try something. Anything is definitely better than nothing in this case.