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    Through life’s big changes and challenges, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and alone. While it’s easy to tell a friend to call if he or she needs anything, not many will take you up on the offer. Here are a few ways you can reach out and be a true friend. Read >>
Health and Fitness News

Friendship through Suffering

What can you do to show up for a friend in need?

We’ve all been there—buying a new house, experiencing a long illness, welcoming a new baby, or suffering a death in the family. Through life’s big changes and challenges, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and alone. In our independent, self-sufficient society, you want to look like you’ve got it all together, that you can handle whatever life throws at you by yourself. You don’t want to ask for help because you know everyone is busy with his or her own lives.

It’s through the tough times, however, that friendships can be strengthened, lost, or created. As a friend, you have the opportunity to show up for someone who needs a little encouragement. Be the gift, be the bright spot, be the answer someone’s been waiting for.

While it’s easy to tell a friend to call if he or she needs anything, not many will take you up on the offer. Here are a few ways you can reach out and be a true friend.

Bring a Meal

There’s nothing quite like a hot, home-cooked meal after a long, stressful day to bring you comfort and strength, but making a meal is often the last thing on your mind. Friends can show up for each other by the simple yet meaningful act of delivering food. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or gourmet. It doesn’t even have to be homemade. It could even be a gift card to a local restaurant.

Know someone who’s going through a difficult time in life? Ask if you can bring over something to eat. Make things easier by taking the food in disposable containers and sending along paper products.

For a family in need, you may consider organizing a meal train. Online sites make this easy. Post a link to the meal train on social media so other friends can get involved.

Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver. - Barbara De Angelis

Send a Message

No one wants to go through hard times alone. Whether you’ve had a cancer diagnosis, a long hospital stay, or the death of a loved one, it helps to know people are thinking of or praying for you. Can you think of a friend, neighbor, or co-worker who’s experiencing a challenging situation? Why not call them on the phone to check in or send an encouraging text message, flowers, or card in the mail to cheer them up?

Help with Children

Sometimes, families go through suffering that makes it difficult to care for the kids. Maybe one of the parents is terminally ill or has abandoned the family. In times like this, it takes a community to step up and help out. This could mean assisting with carpool, doing a few loads of laundry, going grocery shopping, doing the dishes, having the kids over for play dates, helping with homework and school projects, or shopping for new clothes. Instead of offering, you may just need to tell your friend it’s what you’re doing.

Offer Transportation

Having someone with you at important appointments gives you emotional support. As an added perk, a friend by your side can help ask the right questions and remember the doctor’s answers. Some people may not have anyone to take them to a doctor’s appointments or they may not be able to drive themselves. In these cases, be a friend and go with them.

Be Sensitive

Showing up for a friend requires tact. You don’t want to be a nuisance or an added burden. You don’t want to put your foot in your mouth and say the wrong thing. Sometimes it’s best not to say anything at all. Look for a need and seek to fill it. Don’t wait to be asked. You won’t regret showing kindness and your friendship will only be strengthened.