When someone you care about is experiencing difficulties, it can be tempting to try to “fix” the problem. However, this can often backfire, as the person may feel like you are trying to take control or that you do not trust them to handle the situation. Instead of trying to fix things, a better approach is simply to offer your support. This means being there for the person, listening without judging, and providing any practical help that they may need. Ultimately, supporting someone through tough times is about respecting their ability to cope and showing them that you care.
Listen and mirror their actions
If someone is confiding in you about a problem they’re experiencing, it’s likely that they just want to be heard. This is where active listening comes in handy. Active listening is all about giving your undivided attention to the person speaking, and then mirroring their words and actions back to them. For example, if your friend says “I feel like I’m not good enough,” you might respond with something like “It sounds like you’re really hard on yourself.”
This technique shows the speaker that you’re both paying attention and empathizing with their feelings, without trying to fix the problem for them. Instead of jumping in with advice or solutions, let your friend know that you hear them and see them, and that you support them no matter what.
Validate their emotions
When someone is going through a tough time, the last thing they need is for you to try and fix their problems. What they really need is for you to validate their emotions. Let them know that it’s okay to feel what they’re feeling, and that you’re there for them no matter what. This can be a really tough balance to strike, but it’s so important. If you try to fix someone’s problems, you can end up making them feel like they’re not allowed to be sad or upset. But if you just listen and offer your support, they’ll feel appreciated and understood – which is exactly what they need in order to get through whatever it is they’re going through.
Partake in activities they’re interested in
Many people try to fix others because they feel it is their duty or that the other person can not do it on their own. However, sometimes the best way to support someone is simply by engaging in activities they are interested in. This can be a great way to spend time together and get to know each other better. It also shows that you care about their interests and want to support them in pursuing them.
Inquire about their needs and wants
If you want to support someone without trying to fix them, the best thing you can do is ask about their needs and wants. This way, you can provide them with the assistance they need without coming across as pushy or intrusive. Simply inquire about what they need help with and then offer your assistance accordingly. If they don’t want your help, that’s okay too. Just be respectful of their wishes and let them know that you’re there for them if they ever need anything.
Create a collage of emotions with them
When you are supporting someone, it is important to create a collage of emotions with them. This means that you should be emotional with them, but also allow them to have their own emotions. You should be supportive without trying to fix them.