How to help a friend who is going through a bad patch?

Surely there is someone among your friends or even your family who is going through a recurring crisis and who needs your consolation and your advice..

It may be that every time you fall in love intensely, you encounter love failure and that is why you become anxious; that when faced with the same discussions, you lose control and react with anger without thinking about what you are saying; whether you experience a paralyzing phobia in elevators or in social situations, acknowledge it with great shame and only tell yourself; or even that it costs him to leave the house. In these cases, it is normal to feel bad, to worry about your mood with each meeting.

Good friendships bear this responsibility, act when there is a concern. The question is … What can we do about a friend’s crisis? What is the limit to act? What if I get rejected for insisting on a solution or asking for help? What is the difference between the performance of a professional and that of a friend?

    How to help a friend through a bad patch

    If you are looking for knowledge to alleviate situations where close people are having a hard time and there seems to be no cure and your anxiety is overwhelming you, this information is for you.

    1. Listening is always the first and most important step

    When we talk about listening we differentiate it from “felt” in that we are not only paying attention to what they are telling us, but we are present and paying attention to what we are hearing when we are explaining it. Maybe they convey sadness, frustration and anger, a sense of helplessness … And the way we react to each circumstance changes drastically.

    If you reach this receptive state, by responding you get them to listen to you.. Somehow, in order for this person to be counseled or encouraged, you must allow yourself to be swayed; this is how healthy relationships work, and this is what we mean when, in many peer-reviewed articles, we mention that there is no need to rush to advice before listening.

    2. There should be no rush to answer or seek a solution.

    We know that when there is anxiety, tension and a lot of nerves, the feeling is that you have to find an urgent way out. But from experience we can say that this is not the case, but on the contrary, you have to breathe, let your nerves down, think as clearly as possible.

    One very important thing that patients usually tell us about their friends is that “the most important thing when I told him … is that he listened to me, didn’t judge me and stayed with me” , and we notice how relaxed they are when they tell it, how they find a certain serenity in the silence. This is why we tell you that, even if it seems like you’re not doing anything by staying silent and waiting, you really are doing a lot.

    3. It is not because I am not following your advice that I am not listening to you.

    If your friend is silent while speaking, he is letting your message reach him. It’s a sign that their relationship with you is important, and if you don’t follow this advice, it’s probably because you aren’t adapting to your situation, or you don’t know how to follow it..

    In many cases, something more internal than behavior is what keeps us from achieving changes that improve people’s well-being. Anxiety crisis, mental blocks (“being left blank”), confusion, returning the same idea over and over again … make it extremely difficult to take the necessary steps to reach a solution. We stress this idea, we know it’s frustrating how a loved one stays in the same problem, however maintaining your presence is important.

    4. When is it important to seriously recommend seeking help?

    As we mentioned in the previous section, when the situation repeats itself and there does not seem to be any reason for the problem to persist, it is time to recommend professional help.

    It can sometimes be embarrassing for you to recommend going to a psychologist, because you seem to label him or her “crazy” or admit that “he or she is not able to solve your problem”. But nothing could be further from the truth, it is a gesture of care and honesty, very important in friendship when faced with difficult situations.

    I’m asking you the following question: Would you allow your friend to continue drinking alcohol after he gets out of control after a few drinks? Would you let him continue playing sports if he had an injured foot, or would you seriously recommend going to a professional for treatment? It is the same logic that we follow, if there is a personal crisis that is not resolved and repeated, it’s time to refer a psychologist.

      5. To take care of your friend, it is important that you take care of yourself.

      It is true that, in some contexts, your friend may be saturated with his problem, be very pushy and not know how to stop. It can make you feel overwhelmed and unable to act on it.

      You have to know how to say enough and recognize that only by acting out of our security can we help those who need us. If we lose control, we will only add frustration and tension to the problem. It is in this situation that you may find yourself giving hasty advice, trying to console yourself with typical phrases (“nothing happens”, “in time, it will happen to you” …) or even express that “you do nothing to fix it the same” “always happens to you” “it seems that you like to suffer”. Before you regret losing control, you had better stop and take it back, only by taking care of yourself can you take care of who you love.

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