We all have moments in life that cause us to need extra support. We may be overwhelmed, experiencing a loss, facing internal struggles, or enduring any other hardships. No matter the reason, having trusted people around for support helps us make it through those difficult times.
While having a support network of your own is important, it’s also crucial to be supportive of the people that you care about. Uplifting and encouraging your friends and family shouldn’t be difficult or stressful. So, instead of worrying about how to lift up your loved ones, here’s a collection of tips for how you can be their biggest supporter!
Listening to the person in need of encouragement is the most important step in showing your support. It shows that you want to give your time and attention to them. Sit down and offer as much space as they need. Let them fill you in on their troubles. Ask questions that pertain to what they’re going through. Find out how you might be able to help them, or if they want help at all. Some people like to work through their issues on their own and just need someone to stand by for moral support.
Provide your friend with sincere attention and focus.
Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by your phone, smart watch, or any other outside force. Ensure that they know you aren’t just sitting there, glossy-eyed, waiting for them to finish their venting.
Give them verbal and physical affirmation that you’re paying attention.
Nod, smile, or respond in an appropriate manner. The last thing you want to do is make them feel uncomfortable or unsafe when they’ve chosen to be vulnerable with you.
At the end of the conversation, follow up again.
Ask how you might be able to help them. They may feel more open to assistance after having time to share and evaluate your sincerity.
If your friend asks for your help, be generous with it. Whatever they need, do your best to give it to them. They may ask for advice, space, assistance with errands, or words of comfort. Even if you’re busy or going through difficult events of your own, it’s more than worth it to give that love and care to a friend in need. Spend your energy and time on them so that you can see them safely through their struggles. Maybe they’ll do the same for you in the future when you next need support.
Occasionally, when people need support, all they’re looking for is someone to tell them that their feelings are valid. So, help them feel heard and seen! Here are comforting words you can say to make them feel that way:
- “I’m so sorry that you’re having to deal with that. It sounds like a difficult time.”
- “Your perspective and reaction make perfect sense. I hope that you’re doing alright.”
- “I completely understand why you feel that way. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to relieve some of that feeling.”
- “It’s alright to be upset in a time like this. Whatever you need, I’m here for you.”
Affirmations like this help establish that the world isn’t out to get them, and that they have people on their side. When you’re enduring any difficult period of life, it sometimes helps to just be told that your feelings and responses are reasonable.
Be Trustworthy and Authentic
When people choose to confide in you, they put their trust in you. Keep their shared information confidential and show that you are worthy of their trust. Additionally, avoid saying overused phrases like, “Everything happens for a reason,” or “maybe it was meant to be.” These phrases feel insincere and don’t help the person feel any better. Instead, show your friend that you care by truly caring. Always have their best interests in mind and be honest (in a kind way) when they ask for your views and opinions. In doing this, you’ll maintain their trust and demonstrate that you sincerely care about their well-being.
If you’re really trying to be more supportive, but you struggle to give all your attention to one person, read our blog “Improving Your Concentration and Attention.”