I am advice-impaired. I am unable to properly word inspiring beacons of hope to the downtrodden, and the hell if I know how to take advice when I’m on the receiving end. I find that simple words cannot mend the hardship or stress that I fall victim to, but they do temporarily alleviate the weight of it all. So how exactly do I go about helping close ones to conquer tough times when I know that there is no right thing to say? I adhere to the ancient idiom of “actions speak louder than words.”
Instead of reciting a slew of Hallmark cards, help your friends with these five simple actions that won’t make you look like a babbling idiot.
One of my best friends is going through a difficult break-up – okay, they are all difficult but this one is a doozy – and I’ve actually found myself improving in the advice department. It helps that The Ex is totally in the wrong and I can brusquely point out his moments of erring. But how much can the tried and true method of “the bad outweighs the good” work when the sudden disunion thwarts them into singledom? They are over and the facts gingerly lessen the jarring reality. The air isn’t settled between them yet, so it’s a good thing I have helpful tricks up my sleeve other than repeating “How immature!”
It all depends on the person at hand – are they talkers? On what level is your bond and what approach matches their personality? These methods have helped me help others in the past.
1. Be there. It’s as simple as being present in their vicinity. Moments of weakness riddle humanity, understandably (we ain’t perfect), and to face their altered world alone is difficult. Negative impacts such as death, break-ups, etc. can leave people in an abnormal state. Hold the door open for them and ease their transition into their next chapter.
2. Buy booze. A controversial task, as it can possibly mask and even worsen the problems instead of confront them, but it can also provide a temporary relief from their troubles. Sometimes we overthink our problems until they’re raw and our minds end up in a catatonic state. Offer your close ones a brief departure from their woes and have them let it all out over a margarita, hefeweizen, or cabernet. In moderation, of course.
3. Find their favorite movie and watch the s*%t out of it. When I first started at Lovelyish, I wrote this piece about movies you could re-watch until end-times. Some movies in my collection have been the source of solace during some bad phases, so help your friends laugh out the worry and remind them that better times are to come.
Yep, only 3 foolproof (with booze having possible side effects) ways to let your friends know that you’re there for them. I can’t speak “advice”, but my presence and willingness to guide my loved ones through emotional obstacles have helped many times before. I’m a good friend, I swear. But rather than tell you, let me show you.
So how you do offer comfort to your loved ones in times of need? Do any of these methods work for you (and therefore, them)?