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Last Updated on December 13, 2020
Tips for Helping a Loved One Through Difficult Times
When someone you really care about seems to be going through a hard time in life, what do you do? Instinctively, you want to find a way to help them out and reduce their stress or pain. However, it’s hard to know just how you can accomplish that. You don’t want to say or do anything that will push them further away, but you see signs that they’re not themselves, and doing nothing isn’t an option.
Trying to help a loved one or someone you know through a difficult time isn’t always easy. Whether your best friend is going through the stages of alcoholism, your parents are getting a divorce after 30 years of marriage, or your sister recently had a miscarriage, there are ways you can help them through to brighter days.
Let Them Know You’re Concerned
The first step is to have that difficult conversation about your concerns. Without jumping to conclusions, being judgemental, or pointing fingers, simply talk with them about the changes you’ve seen. If your friend were struggling with alcoholism, perhaps you state that you notice they’ve been drinking more or isolating themselves. Sometimes just letting them know that you see a difference in their behavior or lifestyle and that you’re worried can persuade them to open up and get help.
Don’t Force a Conversation
There are times in life when a person simply doesn’t want help, doesn’t want to admit they need help, or simply isn’t ready. Trying to force them to open up and tell you what’s going on or what you can do to change it will only make matters worse. After you’ve told them what you’ve seen, why you’re concerned, and that you’ll be there for them, you have to back off and allow them to reach out to you.
If you already know what’s going on or they’ve opened up to you about their issues, you can support your loved one through this rough time by offering them resources. Unless you’ve been through the situation yourself (and sometimes even if you have), offering advice may not be what they want. You can instead provide them with reputable resources that could help their problem.
For example, if your sister suffered a few miscarriages but really wants a child, after she’s had time to recover physically and emotionally, you can bring her information on foster care and adoption. Rather than having an opinion she doesn’t want to hear or feeling like she’s being told what to do, she has valuable information that she can use when she’s ready.
Be There The Best You Can
Your loved one may ask for space, they may ask you to be there every step of the way, essentially, the best thing you can do to help them through this difficult time is to be there. If they prefer space, send them letters, emails, or even funny videos and memes to let them know you’re around. If they ask you to provide more support then visit often, show up for meetings, be an ear to listen, help around the house, and whatever else may be required of you. The idea is to provide stability and support so that your loved one can take the necessary steps to get through whatever it is they’re going through.
It’s not easy watching someone you know and care about go through a difficult point in their life. Especially when you see those circumstances changing the very essence of who they used to be. While you don’t have to sit idly by, if you’re going to help it is important that you do so at a pace they’re most comfortable with. Use the tips above to guide you and whenever you’re called on just be there the best way you know how. Eventually, this too shall pass.