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There are few things in life harder than having to watch someone you care for going down a bad road. There are plenty of things that can cause that to happen, from a bad relationship to substance abuse to mental illness that’s not being properly dealt with. One of the hardest things about it is the feeling of powerlessness that comes from just watching someone in your life go through something so difficult and being unable to stop it. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that you can do about it. Here are just a few ways that you can be there for a friend who needs you.
Offer real solutions
One of the hardest things for someone who is in the middle of a really difficult situation is to be able to see things clearly and rationally. That’s something that you can provide for them. Being on the outside, you’re going to have a far better view of the kinds of practical things that they can do, whether that’s looking into sober living homes, finding a way out of their relationship, or seeking some kind of professional counseling. You’re not going to be able to fix your friend’s problems, but you can help to guide them towards things that might be able to.
Just be there to listen
A lot of the time, someone who is suffering is going to be feeling incredibly alone. Sometimes all they really need from you is to be there and listen. This doesn’t mean offering solutions or giving them tough love, it just means listening. They don’t want you to solve their problem, they sometimes just need to talk it through with someone. A lot of the time being able to do that will actually help them develop a better understanding of their situation and will help them to find ways to get better and move forward with their life.
Give them a safety net
Another way of making sure that your friend knows they aren’t alone is to offer yourself as a safety net. If they need to get out of a particular situation than you may be able to offer them a place to stay for a day or two. Obviously, you want to make sure that you don’t fall into the position of enabling them, but if they need a shoulder to lean on and you’re in a position to do so, you may be able to offer yourself as that shoulder.
Of course, one of the most important things that you need to remember is that you also need to be able to look after yourself. You can’t dedicate all of your time to looking after someone else, it’s just too much for you to take on. If things are simply getting to be too much, it’s okay to need to take time for yourself. Remember, if you’re not able to take care of yourself, you’re never going to be able to take care of anyone else either.