5 Ways to Support a Friend

Updated: Mar 16

Social support is essential to satisfying interpersonal relationships. It makes us feel better about our relationships with the people who are offering support.

In both emotional and physical terms, good social support is associated with good health.

LePore et al. (1993) found that in the instance of an acute stressor (in their case, reactions to the stress of giving a public speech), the mere presence of a friend could lower the physical effects of the stress.

Support comes in many forms...physical, emotional and social

1.Listen👂 —>

One type of support people tend to enjoy is just being listened to when they are in the mood to discuss their problems. When listening don’t compare their situation to something you experienced or feel the need to steer the conversation to you story telling. Just let them vent and get things off their chest. There is great power in being able to share and in being heard. Be the person who hears someone. Listening to another person with full attention is a gift.

2.Full focus on your friend😌 —>

This means when a friend may be going through something you still acknowledge them throughout the situation and empathize their feelings or even allow for the other person to have a range of feelings and feel whatever they want in their own time. Being focused on the other person and give them space to feel any way they want about lets say their mother’s illness, makes you reframe the situation and focus on gratitude for the mother’s good care.

3.Act soon🏃‍♂️—>

One interesting study found that people who perceive receiving social support were actually more depressed the following day; whereas, people who received social support from their partners but did not perceive that they had been given support (i.e., their partners had been supportive in a subtle way), felt less anxious, less stressed, and less depressed the following days. This means, small acts such as remembering to stock up vegan snacks for your vegan friend when they come over rather than asking them to bring their own food since you are not vegan can create a big impact upon them. Maybe you can send a funny picture or video clip to a friend who is feeling down. Maybe you could leave groceries on someone’s doorstep. Or have a meal delivered to a family member. Or Venmo a few dollars to a local small business that is struggling.

4.Try, always try💪 —>

People often avoid giving support because they are afraid they will not say or do the exact right thing. However, if they are your friend it doesn’t even matter if your intentions didn’t play out 100% how you would’ve like. It’s the thought and effort that always counts. People appreciate the effort, especially when they are in great distress, which many people are now. The benefits of good social support can be super effective.

5.Understand them 💟 —> Always try to put yourself in their shoes and understand where they are coming from, how their perspective looks. Alternatively make time to check out something that your friend recommends to you! Even if it's not your usual taste, you'll have something to bond over and may be able to understand them better.

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