When you love somebody – whether they are a friend, a lover or a family member – it is painful to watch them go through a crisis. We all experience unpredictable moments in our lives; it could be a divorce, the loss of a loved one, a career shift, or an identity crisis. Witnessing somebody close to you go through this can be difficult, but there are ways to help them without getting sucked into the pain yourself.
In this post, we’ll explore strategies for helping someone who can’t cope. We’ll give you tips and tricks for speaking to them, as well as acts of service you can perform that will help them in a big way.
One of the most common mistakes that people make when dealing with a person in crisis, is project their own issues. If you feel you have gone through something similar, your first reaction might be to tell them about the time you went through that awful thing that happened a few years ago. This is super tempting, because you might think you’re being helpful – but the majority of the time, in the moment, projecting your own problems only makes you seem self-centred.
There is a time for sharing stories and relating to each other; this time usually comes when the dust has settled, and the person is on their way to recovering from whatever went on. In the moment of crisis, the best thing is to just be there. Listen. Don’t judge, don’t project, just be a sponge for whatever is going on.
When a person is going through a change in their life – perhaps a divorce, perhaps a job loss, or even something more concrete like a sexuality or gender shift – it is important to be vocally supportive. Often, people say things like, ‘They know I’m always there for them!’ – but if you haven’t actually said it, the person might feel rejected or ignored.
If you know someone who is going through something difficult, reach out. You could send them a kind email or letter, or even buy a support badge if the moment relates (such as if your loved one comes out as gay or transgender). You can find supportive emblems and badges at https://www.dynamicgift.com.au.
Often, acts of service are the best way to support somebody. If they are having an emotional crisis, they are likely seeking professional help in the form of a therapist or counsellor, or even speaking with their doctor about medications.
In that case, you don’t need to be a therapist for that person. Instead, offer practical help. This can be in the form of cooking meals, helping them clean their home, walking the dog, or even popping round for a cup of tea to keep them company. Small gestures matter hugely when someone is having a crisis.
Crises are very difficult to overcome, but with the right strategy, you can help someone you love get past this challenging time.