Being Present: Comforting a Sad Friend

How many times have you had someone come to you crying because of a death, a break-up, or even just a terrible day at work? If you’ve at least tried it once, you know very well how awkward it can be. They’re beside you bawling their eyes out and you’re just sitting there not knowing what to do or say at all.

Even though you want to show your empathy and let them know you’re there for them, it can be difficult to express in words. So, let’s just get straight into what you can say or do on times like these!

If it’s appropriate, offer physical affection.

If you’ve known the other person for a long time and you’ve been good friends, you can offer a hug or a literal “shoulder to cry on”. When it comes to physical affection really, the keyword here is “offer”. The other person should be the one to actually take the lead.

For example, if he/she is crying beside you and leaning on your shoulder, you can put a hand around them rather than just patting them on the back. Of course, if you’re not as close to this person, you can’t immediately go for a hug.

Know that your presence is sometimes enough

A lot of people admit that it’s hard for them to comfort someone because they don’t know what to say. Fortunately though, when people are going through something bad, they’re really not asking for any advice. They just want someone to be there with them, someone who understands what they’re going through. Just being there for them or saying something like “I’m sorry you’re hurting right now,” can be way better than giving unsolicited advice.

Don’t attempt to “minimize the pain” by cheering them up

If someone is sharing his/her problems and starts to cry, the usual reaction would be to stop them from doing so by making them laugh or smile. This will actually make them bottle up their emotions which is the opposite of what you want if you are to help them get over the situation faster. Someone who is sad or upset, most of the time, wants you to go on that melancholic journey with them. Remember, trying to cheer them up will only be a band-aid solution.

Give suggestions when…

If a person starts feeling better and asks you for advice, then you can make a suggestion. Again, only if they actually ask for your advice. Even then, your suggestions should still be largely based on the other person’s ideas. Ask them first about what they have in mind and give them a suggestion that will help them improve the situation slowly and step-by-step. Guide them towards making the decision instead of immediately suggesting a solution.

Reflections on Conversations and Communication

There have been so many things invented for the sake of improving communication. Telephones, cell phones, emails, social media, and maybe even more channels of communication have been invented for us to have the best means to communicate as possible. But has this really improved our communication? Well, sadly no. There are still people out there who do not converse as much as they should.

Now don’t get me wrong, we’re not saying you should force yourself to talk to others. We’re just saying that everyone needs a healthy conversation every now and then. Remember when you were a kid and it was so easy to talk to your family then you started trying to make friends and it was kind of hard? Well, maybe you had a hard time conversing back then but that shouldn’t stop you now.

Why should people have healthy conversations on a regular basis? It’s just a part of who we are. As human beings, we want to communicate. We want people to understand us. We want to be able to get others to understand us. This is why we have artists who communicate on a different medium than language. Whether it be paintings, music, sculptures, or any other form of art, they were all created to send a message.

What happens when we aren’t able to converse? When we aren’t able to converse, we end up completing the conversation ourselves. Take note, this can be very dangerous as this relies greatly on your mood when you are conversing with yourself. If you had a problem in mind and end up talking to yourself because of the lack of conversation, you might end up finishing your problem with a negative response and accept it because you haven’t heard solutions from any other person.

Everyone needs a friend. Friendship is something beyond what we want but rather what we need. We need healthy conversations. We need conversations that keep our mind going. It’s a bit sad how some people feel like there’s nobody to talk to. Don’t give up searching. There’s always someone out there desperate for a good conversation.

Who knows, you might be the match to what they’re looking for. Conversations build everything. From marriage to families, it is conversation that holds them together. Treasure the conversations you have. Some conversations might even be the milestone and door into a new chapter of your life. There have been so many life changing conversations around, you might just even experience one soon. We definitely need more conversations around. People need to each other.