At the beginning of the school year I had a health scare. I was in and out of the emergency room for chest pain, shortness of breath, and body aches that would not go away. I ended up on bed rest for three weeks—the longest three weeks of my life.
What made these longest three weeks of my life bearable were my friends. I would receive multiple texts and phone calls each day from them. Some even came to visit me at home and brought me food. None of the medicine that the doctors prescribed helped me as much as my friends being there to take my mind away from my boredom, pain, and worries. I was able to talk to them about my concerns like falling behind in school, not knowing for sure why I am on bed rest, and other crazy things that popped in my mind. I’d like to say that if it were not for my friends, I would not have recovered as quickly as I did.
Although we may take it for granted, friends are an important part of most people’s lives. They are an important support system—we laugh with them and cry with them. However, it is important to be there for our friends when they need us.
Having a friend in need is sometimes uncharted territory. Figuring out ways to be helpful is not always clear. So here are a couple of ways to be there for a friend in need:
1. Listen. Sometimes a person needs to be heard. Being an outlet for a friend with a lot on their mind might help them think through the problem they are working though. Being a good listener can be reassuring and strengthen the bonds of friendship.
2. Don’t pry. Your friend may not be ready to share certain details. When they are ready they will tell you.
3. Don’t ask how you can help. Sometimes your friend does not want to bother or burden you. Even if that is not the case, it is one more thing to think about when their energy needs to be focused on the problem at hand. Instead, bring them lunch, run an errand for them, or even take them to the movies!
4. Be there for your friend. Make sure that your friend knows that you are there for them. Setting time aside to spend with them might be a break from an already stressful life. Be sure to check-in on them, but let them know if its okay if they don’t respond.
5. Know your resources. If your friend needs a professional to talk to there are many resources available including the Counseling and Psychological Services on campus and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.
6. Seek help. If someone is threatening their own life or some else’s life, bring your friend to the Emergency Room or call 911 immediately.
Life’s challenges happen to the best of us and it’s okay! Knowing that you have a supportive friend can make all the difference on getting through it. People are social creatures by nature, and friends are a powerful medicine!
DeMeo, T. (2016, March 09). How to Be a Friend in Need -- Seven Tips That Can Help a Troubled Friend. Retrieved April 06, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terry-demeo/how-to-be-a-friend-in-need----seven-tips-that-can-help-a-troubled-friend_b_9418726.html\
The Jed Foundation, Facebook, the Clinton Foundation, Facebook, Instagram. (2014). Help a friend in need. The Jed Foundation.
By Marissa Mayeda