They say the test of a true friend is when they are there for you in good times and in bad. Those who are only there when times are good have traditionally been referred to as ‘fair weather friends’ and that is not something you ever want to be.
Your friend is going through something that maybe you don’t understand, but it is weighing heavily on them. Times are tough and although you can’t wave a magic wand to take their troubles away, there are some things you can do to let them know you care.
Spend Time with Them
Sometimes all it takes when you are going through something there may be no solution for is to have a friend at your side. Your friend may just need the reassurance that they are not alone in this world and even if the subject of their situation isn’t broached, they know you care. They really, really begin to realize they are not alone after all.
Actively Listen to Them and Validate Their Feelings
This is a tough one for many of us. What you should do is actively listen to what they are saying and periodically say, “I hear you saying that…” or “I get that.” Let them know you really are listening and when they hear you saying that you get what they are feeling, you’ve just validated their right to feel the way they do. Whatever you do at this point, don’t offer advice! Let them find their own path forward.
If You Share a Common Faith
Sometimes friends who share a common faith can pray together. If you are Catholic, for example, you might offer to go and light a candle at church with them for their intentions. You might ask if they’d like to pray a rosary with you and if the answer is affirmative, why not get them a lovely rosary which you can find among the many religious products at your favourite religious goods store or online site? Perhaps an image or small statue of the Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ, would give them comfort in their time of need?
Help as You Can
Depending on the severity or extent of what they are experiencing, simple tasks might be something they just can’t manage. Maybe they aren’t up to going shopping or taking the dog for a walk. Do what you can and watch how your care begins to lighten their load. Emotional stress can weigh heavily on the shoulders of someone beset by troubles, so lighten the load as you can.
Try to Instil a Bit of Laughter
If the opportunity presents itself, try to instil a bit of laughter. It could be about something you both found funny in the past or it could be a stupid meme you saw online. Do what you can to elicit a smile and watch as their burdens begin to lift. However, don’t go overboard. Let the laughter flow naturally, but don’t be afraid to be silly if the chance presents itself. A little laughter can go a very long way.
You may never fully understand what your friend is experiencing but just the fact that you care may help snap them out of it. Don’t try to psychoanalyse them. Just be there and do what you can. That is often enough to set the healing wheel in motion.