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Added August 01, 2013

How to Comfort a Friend in Need

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It’s never easy to find the right words to say. Whether a friend is stressing over a family hardship or experiencing a bad break up, it’s a pretty tough job to make someone feel better. But you’re not alone. A lot of girls struggle with finding the perfect thing to say. From feeling like an idiot because you said the wrong thing, to not saying anything at all, it can be difficult to have the proper response.


Here are some examples you may relate to:


"I remember feeling so horrible when Amy told me her brother was in a car accident," recalls Jessica. "I so badly wanted to say the right thing to comfort my friend but instead, I just stood there like an idiot.”


“The first words out of my mouth when Nicole said her parents were getting a divorce were all wrong," remembers Stephanie.


“When Ashley and her boyfriend broke-up, I said something like, “you're probably better off without him.” Michelle recalls her friend just staring at her in disbelief. She wanted to hide.


"The first time I saw my Aunt Linda after I found out she had breast cancer, I said, 'Gee, you look so good,'" sighs Rebecca, "as if cancer were a looks enhancer or something. I should have just hugged her."


It happens to the most articulate and caring among us. Just when we want to comfort a friend we really care about, words fail. Or, we feel unprepared, unsure about what to say and instead of honestly acknowledging that we feel pressured to somehow make things right, we offer a solution instead of just listening. Too often our quick responses can cause more pain to the person we're trying to help. We have to learn how to listen better so we come up with the appropriate response, which can sometimes simply be a hug.


How to Comfort a Friend What to Do
Good advice for most situations is to put yourself in the other person's place. How would you feel and what would you want others to say to you? Psychologists call this “empathy.” What would make you feel better? Most times a kind smile, a warm hug and simply saying, "I'm sorry, I feel for you," will do the trick. Even just asking to go for a walk together, with no agenda other than to spend quiet time, can be helpful.


How To Comfort a friend Comforting Words to Say

  • "If you ever want to talk about this, please let me know."
  • "Whatever it is you need, a joke, a favor, or a hug, I'm here."
  • "I spoke to my mom. She wants you to know she's available if you need to talk to an adult."
  • "I'm so very sorry you have to go through this. This is new for both of us. Help me help you. Tell me what I can do."
  • "If you need to be alone right now, I understand. When that changes, just call...anytime."
  • "You're one of my best friends. I care about you so much and feel so helpless to make you feel better. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.”


How to Comfort a Friend What Not to Do
If you haven't lived through whatever trauma your friend is experiencing, don't try to offer advice. Your friend needs to be listened to and have her pain acknowledged more than she needs to hear your words of wisdom. Even if you've been in a similar situation, never say, "I know how you feel." Everyone experiences a crisis in his or her own unique way.


Don't feel compelled to be cheery to try to comfort a friend. This is not a time for compliments or empty reassurances, especially if you have no way of knowing what the outcome might be.


Don't put your recovery timetable on someone else to try to comfort a friend. Just because you think someone should be back to themselves, whether it's after breaking up with a boyfriend or the death of a loved one, comments like, "It's time to get over it already," can be hurtful and won't help comfort a friend. It's not your place to say that.


Never enforce your views on someone else when you comfort a friend. Never judge. There's no way for you to know what they feel in their hearts and just how hurt they may really be at this time.


Don't ignore what the person has gone through and immediately change the topic whenever your friend comes in the room. If someone died, mention a fond memory. If someone is ill, express how you hope they have a speedy recovery.


Remember that every situation is different. The best thing to do is to listen and continue to learn how to be a good friend to those in need of comfort.

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comments so far
Posted March 29, 2014
Thanks beingirl, sometimes when I'm comforting friends I say the wrong things and I wish I can go back the past and say a much better thing
Posted March 13, 2012
hey just ask someone close can I have i just need one
Posted December 29, 2011
Thx :)
Posted December 08, 2011
my grandad died acouple of years ago and my heart still hurts. I dont really show these emotions but i need a hug. what should i do???
Posted December 16, 2011
I say just give someone a hug! Nothing will make it any better, but it is always nice to have friends around! P.S. I'm really sorry
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