Good friends are supposed to support each other in tough situations and encourage each other when going through challenges. Everyone needs a friend to lean on in difficult times. Here are some tips for being a supportive friend.
Learn to listen and empathize. Although this goes without saying, we can't fail to mention it. A supportive friend will always listen to what we have to say and share their opinion on the matter or just let us cry into their shoulder and wallow in self-pity if that's what we need right now. You need to know when to offer constructive feedback and when to just let your friend talk.
Don't judge. Good friends can offer their opinions without being judgmental. Judging someone's choices and values is the direct opposite of being supportive. You also should refrain from telling your friends what they “should” and “shouldn't” do, try to phrase your advice more neutrally.
Ask questions. Sometimes it is hard for people to tell about their problems and ask for help because they don't want to be a burden. It is important to ask your friends questions if you see there's something wrong with them. Just be very tactful and don't pressure them into telling you things they don't want to tell.
Distract them. If your friend is not ready to solve their problem yet, help them take their mind off it for a while. Have a movie night or a slumber party, play video games or go on a shopping spree. Remember to make sure that your chosen pastime doesn't remind your friend of their problem. For example, watching rom-coms when your friend has gone through a messy break-up is not the wisest idea.
Be honest. Some people aren't honest with their friends because they are afraid to hurt them. Instead of telling them what they really think they tell their friends what they want to hear. However, it is very important to be able to tell your friends the truth even if it might hurt. Just be considerate of their feelings.
Stay connected. Contact them from time to time to let them know you are thinking about them. Saw something your friend may find funny? Text them! Random texts and IMs show our friends that we care.
Don't get jealous. Frenvy (friendship envy) is a common thing, but you shouldn't let it get out of control and ruin your friendship. It is important to be happy for your friends' accomplishments and successes instead of getting jealous and bitter.
Be an adult. Children get easily offended when their friends don't want to hang out with them or have other friends. Being able to understand that your friend doesn't have to spend all their time with you is a sign of emotional maturity. A supportive person will understand when their friend has to cancel their plans for some reason (as long as it doesn't happen on a regular basis).
And remember that friendship is a two-way street. If you constantly support your friend but they never support your in return, your friendship is one-sided and you probably should reconsider being friends with this person.
- 6 Ways to Be More Likeable, 5 Signs of a One-Sided Friendship, How to Make a Sick Friend Feel Better, 10 Signs That You Have a Toxic Friend