A friend… indeed!

A young woman comforting her female friend who is upset
Photo: © jetsam86 / 123RF Stock Photo

‘Many a time, those who need your support the most will seek and accept it the least.’

Do you remember the time you were upset and needed to talk to someone? Was it easy to open up about how you felt? Did you feel embarrassed about being weak? Or shy to share that you were sad? Or felt small because you could not handle things on your own? I bet your friends noticed and tried to reach out. Did you accept their care and concern?

And how do you feel when your friends feel low? Do you feel like you want to be there for them but don’t know how to really connect? Do you feel bad too when they push you away? It can be quite frustrating trying to help a friend, knowing that they really need it, being aware that they will benefit from it, sensing that they’re miserable without it; and yet they refuse.

While a friend in need is the friend indeed, how can you be that friend really if all doors are shut on your face? Here are some tips that might come in handy when you’re trying to help a friend who’s actually refusing it.

Don’t make it about you — it’s about them

Often enough we get upset with friends who don’t trust us because we are ourselves hurt by their distancing. But this isn’t about our ego; it’s about their feelings.

It is very likely that your friend is shy, afraid or stubborn and hence would not see the worthiness of what you’re trying to offer to them. Recognizing and accepting this betters your attitude, prevents you from feeling frustrated, and opens doors of empathic communication enabling you to get through to them. Often enough we get upset with friends who don’t trust us because we are ourselves hurt by their distancing. But this isn’t about our ego; it’s about their feelings. The right attitude and approach is prime in touching the hearts of those who are not willing to listen. They just don’t know that you care. But you do, right?

Acknowledge their emotion of shame

We all have large egos, so we refuse help even when we need it. When you acknowledge your friends’ awkwardness and communicate gently about how it is all right to take the help of someone who cares, they tend to become more receptive. It would help them realize that your relationship supersedes the shame and embarrassment that they are imagining. Maybe you can speak to this friend about a time when you were distressed but didn’t talk to anyone because you worried about appearing foolish. And you understand it’s normal to feel that way but you still want to help them and will be there.

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Dr Shefali Batra

Dr Shefali Batra, Psychiatrist and Cognitive Therapist, is the Founder of Mindframes and Co-founder of InnerHour. She is available at connect@mindframes.co.in.
Dr Shefali Batra

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Dr Shefali Batra

Dr Shefali Batra, Psychiatrist and Cognitive Therapist, is the Founder of Mindframes and Co-founder of InnerHour. She is available at connect@mindframes.co.in.