It can be challenging to know how to be there for someone going though a difficult time. First, people deal with negative experiences differently. Secondly, if you never experienced a similar situation, you will not know everything on their mind or what to say to help them. However, there are still several ways that you can offer support.
1) Offer to Listen
Often people feel they are expected to offer advice when a friend discusses a problem they are experiencing. While some may feel comfortable offering advice, others may feel they cannot offer advice since they have not gone through a similar experience. The most important thing is to be honest. Express from the beginning that they can talk to you if they need someone. Similarly, communicate you may not be able to offer advice, but will be there to listen if needed. Sometimes the best therapy is having the ability to vent openly in a judge-free environment.
2) Reach Out and Take Initiative
Those who are grieving often have a lot to deal with and a lot on their minds. Therefore, they may not think to reach out to others to talk about their feelings. It may be necessary to take initiative and check up on them for time to time. This could also be because they feel bothersome reaching out to talk with those who have not experienced anything similar. Some may not wish to talk to others about the loss of a loved one. In the beginning, it can be difficult to know if someone is open to talking about their loss. In this case, you can still reach out to wish them a good day or communicate you are thinking of them.
3) Try to Be Understanding
The grieving process takes time and is characterized by a variety of strong emotions. It is common for those experiencing stress or a negative experience to take their frustrations out on others. If a friend takes their frustration out on you, it is common to feel hurt. However, try to remain calm and understand you were not the intended target of their frustration.
Additionally, those grieving may decline offers to spend time together. It is common to be overwhelmed with emotion and feel like being reclusive. This could also be because even if friends constantly offer support, they don’t want to bring friends down. Also, they may want time alone to figure out things by themselves. However, do not become discouraged if they decline your offers to spend time together. It can be difficult, but stay determined to reach out or spend time together to show you care about them.