As a friend, we all want to help our besties in their time of need. This may be a recent breakup, a random bad day, or even something more severe, like an illness. Taking care of your friends is one of the most important parts of friendship, it’s and something that we should all take seriously. However, sometimes, when we take care of others, we forget to take care of ourselves. Supporting someone can require a lot of time and energy, and it can be pretty exhausting, causing you to ignore your own needs and neglect self-care. Here’s how to take care of your friend, while still taking care of yourself.
Don’t feel guilty! It is okay to say no to a friend when they ask for help. Many times, we feel like we have to always be there for our friends because that’s just what a friend does. While this is a nice idea, it’s not fair to you. If you constantly put your friend’s needs above your own, you don’t have an equal and healthy relationship. It’s okay to say no to a friend in order to take some time for yourself. You deserve time to process their problems, as well as time to simply be with yourself.
UNDERSTAND THAT YOU CAN’T FIX THEIR PROBLEMS
Something that I’ve done in friendships is tried to fix my friend’s problem for them. I did this because I could see that my friend was hurting, and I wanted to help them. But it’s not your job. Often times, we spend so much time trying to fix other people’s problems that we exhaust ourselves. You can listen and walk your friend through their problems, but you can’t fix them.
TALK ABOUT YOUR ISSUES
Sometimes, when I’m helping out a friend, I don’t talk about my own problems. This isn’t fair to me, and a true friend would want to help me as much as I help them. After your friend is done talking about their problems, tell them that you need support too. A good and healthy friendship goes both ways, but sometimes people need a gentle reminder. On the other hand, if your friend dumps their problems on you, leaves you drained, and never asks how you are doing, that might not be a good friend to have.
ENCOURAGE YOUR FRIEND TO SEEK OTHER HELP
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s probably because you are the only person this friend is sharing their problems with. Encourage your friend to go see therapist if they can afford one, talk to another friend, or utilize an online resource. This way, your friend is still being helped and acknowledged, but you have less to worry about and will have more time to focus on yourself.
KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME TO LET GO
Unfortunately, we can do everything in our power for our friend and it still won’t be enough. Maybe this person just keeps running into the same problems, or maybe they refuse to get the help they actually need. If you are starting to feel like more like a therapist than a friend, it might be time to walk away.
Let us know in the comments if these tips helped you help a friend. If you’re looking for someone to share your troubles with, download Hey! VINA.
(Featured image via StockSnap)