Do you know someone who is hurting? Do you know how to help them or do you just feel helpless?
In my season of pain, I was touched by the overwhelming support I was given. I’ve reflected on the things that helped me most and found these three things to be so helpful. If you know someone who is hurting (be it depression, breakup, sickness, death or a combination of these), please consider these three things.
- Call them and make plans with them. Yes, your friend is hurting and you initially feel that it isn’t your place to barge into their messy life. But, I say, “It is your place!” Many people messaged me telling me that I could talk to them or visit anytime I wanted. This was so so nice to hear, but I was far too buried in pity and doubt to ever actually approach them. Therefore, you need to make the first move.
I had one friend in particular that made a huge impact. He called me up and told me exactly what day we were going to hang out, what we would be doing and what we would make together for lunch. He might sound a bit pushy but it was exactly what I needed. I was in no condition to reach out to someone or make decisions, and maybe he knew that. We spent the day cross country skiing, racing each other and making delicious pizza together. He showed me his camp world and listened to me. I don’t know if he knew how grateful I was for his initiative and for the day I got to spend with him. But, I will always be so grateful for him. Be that friend.
2. Or, just call them. I also had a few friends do this. If they had asked me first before calling I would have said, “No, I don’t want to talk.” That’s exactly the response someone who is hurting will have.
It’s just like if you had gotten a large cut on your knee. You are not going to jump up and say, “Hey everyone, look at the blood coming out of my wound! Let me tell you how this happened!” You instead would curl up into the fetal position, apply pressure to your knee, and quietly soak in the immediate pain that is taking your breath away.
But, in order to heal, the person who is hurting needs to talk about it.
I had a friend call me and pray over me. I had a friend Skype with me and tell me how good it is that I am rid of someone who would hurt me and treat me the way he did. (Man was that a confidence booster and it was so true!) I had a couple friends call promising to have him beat up the second I gave them the command. (Disclaimer: I would never do such a thing but the message they were sending me was just how much they cared for me.) Those people did my heart a world of good.
3. Text them daily or weekly, whatever you can manage to do in your busy life. Those reminders are necessary for the hurting person to know they are constantly in you thoughts and prayers, not just immediately following the crisis.
I had another couple of friends that would send me encouraging Bible verses or message me with affirmations. I can’t tell you how loved I felt from the attention I got. That was the point where I started realizing that if so many people cared this much about me, maybe I really did have worth. Maybe all those things he told me about myself were untrue. Maybe I truly was lovable, fun and a good friend. Maybe I really was someone to be treasured.
4. Make them laugh. This one could be an impossible task depending on your timing and how close you are to the hurting person. I’d probably wait a few days before I tried to make them laugh, otherwise they will be inconsolably in the depths of despair. We all know the power of laughter and smiling. Not only is it scientific but I can attest to the power of laughter.
When I was hurting, my best friend and her husband took it upon themselves to constantly check on me and tell me funny stories or crack jokes. It worked. Even in my deepest sadness, they still could make me giggle. Giggling is little reminder that there is still joy in the world. That is an important reminder to someone who is deeply hurting.
If you know someone who is hurting, help them in these simple ways. You may be the only person that cares enough to go the extra step.
Do you have any extra advice you would add to these suggestions? Comment below!