How To Be A Rock: Supporting Your Loved Ones Through Crisis

Everyone goes through some rough times in life, and it can be very difficult to see your loved ones deal with grief, with divorces, with being made redundant, and with illness. There are some things you can do to help out – here are some tips.

Be There
If your friend or loved one is hurting, the most important thing to do is simply be there. A lot of people find that their friends and family are surprisingly unhelpful in difficult times – and a big reason for that is that a lot of the time, people simply don’t know what to say, so they end up avoiding them instead. And it is definitely hard to know how to respond to hearing about the news of a bereavement or a marriage split. If you aren’t sure what to say, it’s okay to say exactly that – that you wish you knew what to say to help but that you love them and that you’ll help out any way that you possibly can. Knowing that they have people they can lean on will help your loved one immeasurably.

Be Careful With Your Advice
Remember that if someone’s going through a rough time, they don’t necessarily want to listen to any advice – they’ll have their own ideas on what they’re planning to do to handle things and they won’t want to hear the experiences of people who haven’t been through the same thing. If you’ve dealt with something similar and they’re asking for advice on which divorce attorneys they should choose, or how to deal with their kids being with their ex every other weekend, then you could offer some tips on what you did in the same situation. Unsolicited tips that you don’t know much about might not be met with a very warm response.

Cut Them Some Slack
Remember that everyone deals with difficult situations in different ways. If your friend’s reacting to being made redundant by going out every night and drinking until 4 AM instead of looking for a new job, then you could definitely step in and tell them that maybe they aren’t making the healthiest choices. But if you don’t think they’re being brave enough, or that they’re talking about their situation too much, then cut them some slack. Listen instead of judging, and give them time to heal.

Offer Practical Help
When crises occur, a lot of people say ‘Let me know if there’s anything I can do’, and then they proceed to do absolutely nothing because they’re too busy waiting around to be instructed to do something specific. But if someone’s life has turned upside down then the last thing they’ll be thinking of is assigning different jobs to different friends. Instead, take it upon yourself to go over and deliver some frozen dinners, or to do some laundry, or to tell them specific times that you can do some babysitting. Using your initiative to offer thoughtful things to do will be appreciated hugely – your time is one of the biggest kindnesses that you can offer someone.

33 thoughts on “How To Be A Rock: Supporting Your Loved Ones Through Crisis

  1. Very good tips. I think my husband is better in giving advice and calming down the emotions when a friend is in need, whilst I’m better at offering practical help and just a simple hug.

  2. I am very cautious when it comes to giving advice. I have tried to support a friend in the past and only told her what she wanted to hear at the time, only for her to change her mind and it to backfire. Being there is so important and the best thing you can do.

  3. Really nice post. Last year I went through a huge crisis. Nothing went right, and in fact ended pretty badly in January of this year when I became homeless. Everything is fine now, but what amazed me was the people who are supposed to be close and who would offer thinly veiled help, or those who have no empathy whatsoever and seem annoyed by the fact you’re in a crisis..

    Humans are strange, but I’m eternally grateful for those who show love and kindness during times of struggle.

  4. Amazing and very honest advice, sometimes we try and give our input when it’s not wanted or needed and we have to make sure to respect the person hurting.

  5. Love these tips so much I got hit by a car before Xmas and I hated certain people being clever about what I should and shouldn’t do. I had to pull back and deal with my pain my own way and I got through it fine 😊

  6. Giving our practical advise is indeed the correct thing to do as well and of course making them feel that you are with them and that they can feel that they can count on you.

  7. amazing post to read! I’m the type who actually helps and supports people. and when i say “let me know if i can do anything to help” i actually mean it

  8. I know that I have a tendency to want to help get to a solution. It takes great effort for me to just be there. I’ve made it a habit to ask, what do you need from me? Tell me how you want me to be here for you. Thanks for this read – we all take turns being in the giving a receiving end of this position throughout life… 🙂

  9. These are great tips. Thank you for sharing. I think offering practical help is such a big thing that people often overlook when it’s something that could make a huge difference for the individual in crisis.

    Nicole | The Professional Mom Project

  10. I relate to all of this. Sometimes you simply need someone to ‘be there’, as a shoulder to cry on or someone to just listen when you need it most x

    1. I think sometimes it is hard to be there, especially if it’s a situation that you havent’ experienced before. Thank you for reading.

  11. It is sometimes the smallest of things that help, and in reality they are massive.

    A lovely post with some wonderful advice.

    1. I know that when I’m feeling stressed having to worry about dinner can seem like the end of the world at times.

    1. Thank you so much for your comments. It’s great that your cousin can count on your support during a stressful time.

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