How to support a friend

Posted on March 18, 2019 by Savanna

Young woman with bright red hair waving her hands

My friends mean the world to me. One of my closet mates battles social anxiety and it’s really hard to watch him have bad days. He once told me that he doesn’t need me to have all the answers – me just being there is a step in the right direction. Sometimes the best thing I can do is just let him know I’m there for him. If  you’re not sure how to support friends through hard times, I totally get it.

I want to share four ways you can get behind a friend who is having a rough patch.

Listen

Really listening to what someone has to say is so powerful. It might be hard to start the conversation, but opening up doesn’t have to be super intense. For example, one of the other PROJECT ROCKIT presenters Ash uses ‘footy talk’ with his mates to break down the barriers. They say stuff like:

💬 How’re you playing today?
💬 Ah, I’m I’m not kicking well mate / yep, I’m kicking goals today!
💬 How can I help your game?

I’d definitely encourage your friend to talk to a counsellor or a family member, so they have support from all areas of their life.

Quiz Time!

When getting support, would you rather that other person simply listens or gives practical advice?

I prefer simple listening

I prefer practical advice

 

All the activities

Do something they love. Whatever the activity is, get them involved in it. Once I created a whole day to celebrate a friend of mine who was going through a break-up. We had a picnic in the sun, watched a bunch of Netflix and topped it off recording our own random music at home. It was such an awesome day, we talk about it all the time. It could be as simple as going to the movies, seeing some live music, making all the food!

Make them smile

Well it’s pretty obvious that you smile when you’re happy but did you know that the action of smiling actually makes you happier? For someone who’s having a rough time, letting them know why they are important to you will help them through the rough time. And we know laughter really can be the best medicine. Send them funny memes, tag them in random posts on Instagram – even knowing that you are thinking of them will go such a long way.

Be an ally

It can be tough to deal with anxiety or worries at school, especially considering you’re around people all day long. I wouldn’t underestimate how relieved someone will feel even if you just invite them to hang with you at lunch or stand up for them when they are being spoken about. Small gestures like this can really change someone’s life. Another way to be an ally is by educating yourself about feeling crap or dealing with bullying. There are heaps of awesome resources at Reachout.com that will come in handy.

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