This post may not seem applicable to your life but stick with me. Maybe you aren’t going through a difficult time, but I guarantee you know someone, who knows someone, that needs this, and you can be their messenger. Why is this important? Difficult situations are not to be ignored. That’s when our friends, family, even strangers, need us the most.
I like tactical + practical and that’s what I am going to share with you today. I know my focus is infertility, but the principles behind this are applicable for any difficult situation you or your friends are faced with. I want you to feel confident and hope you’ll put these ideas into practice or pass along to someone else you know going through a difficult time.
To set the stage, everyone handles things differently. That’s why it’s important to know the person you are taking to. If you have other talking points please share as I’d love to keep this conversation going.
- Ask how they are doing. From experience, as the person going through a difficult time, I would much rather have people ask me about it, then pretend it doesn’t exist. That hurts worse. I completely understand not everyone has this mantra. You know your peeps better than I do. If you have no clue which they prefer, error on the side of asking by simply saying, “I know you are going through a difficult time, but I really want to know how you are doing. Are you comfortable sharing? If not now, would it be alright if I followed up?” This let’s your friend know you care but are also sensitive to the difficult situation they are going through. By stating it this way, you are allowing them to guide the conversation. Be advised, do not ask this question unless you really care to know.
- Ask what you can do. Know this, your friend most likely is not asking you to fix their situation. They know you can’t and if you think you can, I hate to break it to you, you can’t. What you are trying to do is support and encourage them. When faced with a difficult situation it’s often hard to reach out for help or even know what to ask for. Most of the time, we don’t ask because we feel it puts a burden on the other person. Be proactive and think of ways to support them because they most likely lack the mental energy due to the difficult situation they are in. Ask yourself, if I wanted someone to help me out, what would I request or appreciate? Send gift cards, run errands for them, do their laundry, fill their car with gas, or take them out to eat. These are just a few ideas to get you started.
- People need each other the most when life is difficult. Please do not ignore or pull back from your friends when they are faced with a difficult life circumstance. Lean into them. You never know how your seemingly simple act can make a huge difference in someone’s journey. I share more ways to do this on the E+DAY page. “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” Teddy Roosevelt
- Don’t just say you will, DO IT. I know I have said many times, I will pray for you, only to forget. When you tell someone you are going to pray for them, you are calling on the most powerful form of change for their lives. Be intentional when you say you are going to use it. A few ways to do this: add a reminder in your phone, put a sticky note in your planner, or start a list and put on your refrigerator.
These are suggested tools. I don’t want you to get overwhelmed or too mechanical about helping your friends during a difficult time. Simply put, no matter what you do, if you are genuine, sincere and your words or actions are coming from your heart, they will know, and appreciate you.
Please share with someone you know who could use some encouragement in the wait.