It's easy to be a good friend during the good times, but when times are tough, she actually needs you more than ever. Here's how to be the pal she needs by her side.
Ask her what she needs
Even if you don’t think there’s anything you could do, the offer means a lot.
“This is a fantastic way to try to help,” says Jessica LeRoy, psychotherapist and founder of Center for the Psychology of Women. “You may be clueless yourself as to how to help her, and you may not be able to think of what she actually needs. So by simply asking, it allows her to tell you what she needs.”
Listen instead of talking
Instead of giving her a pep talk, lend an ear and let her vent.
“A lot of times people just need to talk it out,” says LeRoy. “They usually know what they need to do and having yet another person tell them what do it is not helpful. So listen and you might be doing more than you think.”
Check in periodically
Give her space but don’t disappear from her life.
“Make sure you check in,” says LeRoy. “Even if she doesn’t get back to you right away or at all, know that she did receive your message and when she does come around she’ll be thankful for that.”
Try not to equate her situation with something you’ve gone through as she might take it the wrong way.
“Try to be understanding of her situation and relate to it, but don’t compare it to a situation you have had,” says LeRoy. “Again, just listen and be there for her.”
Bring her a dish
Even if you’re a terrible cook, a homemade dish is a sign of comfort no matter what she is going through.
“It shows you went out of your way and that you care enough for her to do something like that,” says LeRoy. “She will appreciate the effort.”
Don’t try to “fix”
She most likely doesn’t need you to step in and try to solve her problem for her.
“Stepping in too quickly to try to ‘fix’ a problem sends the message that you don’t have confidence that your friend is capable of handling the situation,” Barbara Neitlich, a Beverly Hills psychotherapist. “More often than not, this can invoke a feeling of powerlessness on your friend’s behalf because she may feel you are trying to take over, rather than simply be an empathic confidant.”