What does being a supportive friend mean?
There are life events where we are make us uncomfortable and unsure how to treat our friends, and one of those is divorce. Are you unsure how be a supportive friend? You are not alone, most people find it uncomfortable with the subject with their friends. It is often as uncomfortable for the divorcing party, they aren’t sure how to act around you either
What should or shouldn’t you say? What is the acceptable behaviour? Are you supposed to act like nothing’s happened when your friend. Do you throw your arms around them and tell them how sorry you are? Do you leave self-help books on their doorstep?
Instinctively, we want to “fix” the pain of those around us. As hard as it may seem, “fixing” our friends problem is not being a supportive friend. Being a supportive friend is more about holding the space for your friend. There is so much that is said in moments of silence, when we don’t try to fix or change the moment, just being with the emotions that are being felt and being okay with that.
What you must NOT say when being a supportive friend
This may seem to be the logical question. Asking “Why”, will make your friend feel that they have to justify their position. When this happens their defences go up and you may become the enemy.
You might be dying to ask the question – don’t. It doesn’t matter, and certainly won’t help your friend any better it you knew.
“You’re better of with that loser!”
This might be also be very tempting, don’t do it, They might be feeling very lost without their partner and you calling them a loser may put you into the enemy camp.
What you CAN say to be a supportive friend
“I’m so sorry that you are going through this”
This is a tricky step to take, let your friend just dump all their stuff. Just listen, and be with in the moment and don’t judge the situation.
“ What can I do to help?”
The most frustrating thing for many people is getting unsolicited advice on a situation. Guys – you are often guilty of this one. Sometimes the most important thing is just acknowledge that our friend is going through a tough time.
“I’ll be there for you whenever you need me”
There is nothing more comforting when you are going through a rough time, than being able to call on some one else in need.
Being a supportive friend is not being able to “fix” the situation but rather it’s about being a shoulder to cry on, when the time is needed.