Having a friend who needs your support can stir up different feelings in you such as special, flattered, confused, uncomfortable or concerned about why they need your support. It is essential to know, however, that a friend that needs your support is not necessarily looking for advice or ways that you can help them fix their problems. All they need is some to listen to them and be there for them; that is the first lesson during counseling in Orlando. Giving them both your time and attention is helping them and is a great way to show that you care. Always remember, it is not your job to fix it for them; all they need from you is support.
You need to understand what your friend is going through and let them know that you understand. With this you can let them know that you know just what they are going through instead of feeling sorry for them. Empathy is based more on what the person is feeling rather than what you feel for them, and this is the difference between empathy and sympathy. So instead of saying something like, "I feel so sad for you," say something like "I can tell this is bothering you a lot."
Even if you do not know or agree with whatever your friend is feeling, validation shows that you understand and get why your friend is feeling that way. Validation means letting your friend know that what they are feeling is normal and even before you would offer a solution, you should validate their feelings. Validation is something like, "I understand you are worried, I would feel the same too."
Before giving your feedback, it makes sense to ask questions that show that you care and want to know what is going on. It is also an excellent tool for communication to encourage your friend to share their problem. You should not try to guess what your friend needs, ask. Some important questions include, "What do you want me to do right now? Is there anything I can do?"
We all have our unique ways of handling things, and you should not assume that what works for you will work for your friend. So, rather than guess, it helps to ask what exactly your friend needs or wants from you. This way you will be sure that whatever you do will make an impact.
Don't try to bombard your friend with different solutions that you think can help them. In most cases, that friend only needs someone to listen to them and offer words of support, not necessarily a solution. If they did not ask for your advice on solutions, don't give it.
Never talk about how you are also going through the same thing that your friend is going through. It makes it look like a pity party, and it takes your friend away from the center of discussion. While being supportive, it is important that you make your support count by following the above tips. If your friend needs further help, they can go for counseling in Orlando at Orlando Thrive Therapy. Help them book a session today by calling 407 592 8997.
Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.