You're probably better at comforting friends than you realize.
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My friend is really sick, and it's making her super bummed out, and I really wanna go and visit her and take care of her, but I'm not sure if her parents would let me cause they don't want me sick. I really want to go over there and help her feel better, got any ideas or tips for comforting someone sick?
That moment when your friends doesn't tell you of what the problem actually is, yet seeks for comfort, and shuns all advice, and you can't even be there by her side because the only way you can communicate is through text?
Sigh. I seriously wanna be able to help her. Hate it when your friends cry and you can't do anything to help tho you want to, and they want you to do so, too.
Hmmm I’m the most sensitive and empathetic person I know... I must be great at this!
I have a friend but don’t have their phone number so I have to message them all the time to comfort them. I just make sure I send really meaningful messages so even if they aren’t coming from a phone call or in person they will cheer them up.
I want to comfort my mom but I’m also very busy with studying for exams and deadlines and I think she doesn’t get it soo she scolds me saying “You don’t know how I feel cause you’ve never been stressed before!!” and that hurts me cause I am very stressed I just don’t like talking to her about it cause I already know she’s stressed and I don’t want to add that up...I also listen to her and I would love to carry some of the weight she is carrying but I also want her to listen to “me” and I wanna talk to her about my problems too...
shit that's why most people say I am awful at comforting , I do listen to people but I will only validate their feelings if they are logical and I'll act like "Okay problem detected, here are possible solutions blablabla do you have any better ideas?" xD
I literally dont understand any of this am i a lost cause?? how do i be mentally and emotionally present? how do i listen without giving advice? how do i validate? ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
+Bass Ryu You're most welcome, I've comforted and been comforted so I know a little bit of what to do. Well if you know the person really well and you're friends let them know you love them. if it's a stranger just reassure them they *are* loved and maybe get in contact with someone they trust or a responsible adult if it's a kid. Just let the person in distress know that they are loved period and they matter. Other than that yeah just do the above, also don't ask what's wrong but maybe ask if they want to talk about their problem. If a person is crying clearly something is wrong and they're overwhelmed. If they don't want to talk then don't speak just be a pillar of support and casually touch their shoulder or give supportive looks if the person doesn't like being touched. Make them as comfortable as possible.
Thank you. Thank you so much. That was helpful. Theres one thing Im confused about. The last part about giving lots of love. How do I give them love? By doing the above? Giving hugs, being there, being calm, saying I want to be here for them?
Being emotionally and mentally there is putting all your attention and focus on the distressed person. Being empathetic (understanding their situation not sympathy that's being sorry for their problem) helps it shows you understand. Also being calm and gentle, if you're secure the person will feel safer. Listen by letting the person open up to you first. Some people want you to ask what's wrong others just want a shoulder to cry on so wait until they've calmed down before actually asking unless you know them really well, same for hugging. Validate by reassuring the person you want to be there for them and what they're feeling is okay and that there's nothing wrong with them. Once they've calmed down enough you can try giving advice but for the most part just try and give them lots of love.
How do i comfort a friend of mine whoost a parent on 9/11. She tells me evry year that the ceremonies and documentries really tear her apart. She feels like she is in grade school again and her horrible teacher came in and said the towers came down so "matter of factly". She tells me if she could punch anyone it would be her for how callous she was. If you could help that would be great.
I am not great at comforting.. I remember once, a girl told me her boyfriend broke up with her that morning and she started to cry. I could not say a word! Then I started to cry myself!!! xD She was like "why are you crying?".. I replied that I found that very sad. It was so awkward because we were not even that close at all! So unless it's a really close friend, I try to run away when I see someone sad.. I share their emotions way too much and it's just uncomfortable.. ^-^
I've noticed that the ones best at comforting are the ones who've gotten to a state similar to that themselves. When you have the experience, it seems easier to comfort someone because you know what some people prefer in certain situations.
Also as a side effect of experiencing that, it may trigger something sensitive in the person comforting.
Remember, if it hurts you, you have the right to take a break. You are a priority and you can't help others if you don't feel okay yourself :)
thank you so much i found this extremely helpful but i have a best friend who recently moved to Florida with her family and we can only text each other. and i find it hard to comfort her when she really needs it . if its possible could you make a quick video on comforting a long distance or even internet friend . please and thank you <3
Your welcome, Bonus non expert tip, You can have hugs work as well through your imagination.. so while your talking to her over the phone verbalize the hug and how it feels and have it last for more than 30 seconds if you can.
Hey :) Could you do a video on fitting in? I used to have a massive circle of friends, a girlfriend and best friends, but when i moved country i lost all that. Over 2 years later, i barely have friends and only just got someone i'd class as a good friend, after two years of patience.
What's going on? Was my social game on point and suddenly lost all my skills? Note, i moved from high school to university.
Is this normal? Does it get even harder after university. I feel that a video on fitting in, is something that would make heaps of people feel so much happier about themselves, because you make such great videos :)
I'm bad about offering advice without being asked. Mainly because I feel so bad when people are upset that I want to help them fix what's wrong so they'll feel better. :( I know its not as helpful as I'd like it to be. It's a bad habit. I'm pretty good at the other too, though. :)
I'm glad you said not to give advice, or to invalidate. Both can come across as patronizing/not comforting, and it can lead to some confusion about where the person you are talking to is speaking from, which can lead to unnecessary misunderstanding of their intention, even if they were trying to be comforting.
Loved the video :)
But i have a question:
My (16 yr old) best friend was in an abusive relationship last year. He constantly harassed her for naked pictures calling her 'stupid' and 'a useless bitch' when she didn't. He then claimed he was just 'using her for sex' and 'didn't actually love' her.
It was horrible to see her go through it and her not listening to me when I tried to explain how awful he was to her but it was always her fault. She'd break up with him but they go to the same school and sure enough a week later they'd be back together and the cycle would start again. It also put a lot if strain on our friendship as not only was it frustrating but she also became incapable of talking of anything else
They finally broke up properly just after xmas and she hadn't spoken to him in months but now they're talking again and he keeps telling her he loves her and wants to get back together, they even hooked up last week. Im really worried that they'll get back together, which will not only break her all over again but I'm not sure I want to sit on the sidelines watching it again, it'll be too much, i know it sounds selfish but its so stressful and draining constantly worrying about her and my advice being ignored
How do i convince her to give him up for good and stopping this circle of hurt?
Thanks for any help possible xxx
Also, never *ever* say something like "oh, well, sometimes you just have to suck it up and keep going." ESPECIALLY when someone is in the middle of an anxiety attack and can't even speak, let alone 'move on'. That's one of the worst things you can say. And stories about how you were 'once in a similar situation and eventually got out of it even though it was hard' are not helping. Maybe your situation was similar, but similar doesn't mean it was exactly the same.
Yeah... I don't really go to that person for comfort anymore. She means well and all, but stuff like that does more damage than good.
However, there was one time when a different friend helped me when I desperately needed it. A few years ago, I accidently slightly overdosed on a medication. It was nothing lethal, but it did affect me horribly. I found it drained my energy and left me feeling empty. Eventually, all I could do was lie down on the floor in a dark room, but before I hit the worst point I posted a message on facebook and tumblr describing what I was feeling. After some amount of time, while I was lying on the floor, my friend called to see if I was okay, then stayed on the phone for hours, just listening to me ramble my broken sentences and knowing when to let the silence just sit there and just being as helpful and comforting as humanly possible. It was an artificially induced state, so there wasn't much to talk about, so at some point, if I remember correctly, we ended up talking about our relationship as friends, which actually strengthened it.
Active listening. And none verbal responses while the other person is telling their story.
Examples of things to stay:
It sounds like you are feeling (insert emotion) because (insert part of their story)
Yah, that's all nice and all Ms. Congers, but how do I know I'm being taken advantage of for my support? When does handing them some tea out of kindness, or letting them stay at my place because their parents suck, turn into them being reliant and abusive to their privileges that I offer?
I try to comfort my friends, despite my awkwardness and inability to handle/acknowledge my own emotions, let alone other people's emotions. But I have a couple of friends who are constantly complaining and nagging about how their lives suck and blah blah blah and I mean yeah sure some of that stuff really does suck but I think there comes a point where they're just doing it for attention, like "oh I'm so depressed pay attention to me my life is so much worse than any of yours". I'll still listen to them, but it's hard to truly feel any empathy when everything that comes out of their mouth is "woe is me". :/
I always thought I was horrible at comforting ppl, since I rarely gave advice and would just sit there hugging and listen to them without talking, yet my friends kept coming to me for comfort. Then this year I met a friend who does the same thing and I realised how amazing it is to have someone just actually listening to you. Sadly, that friend was an exchange and is leaving in 2 months (T_T), but he taught me such a valuable lesson.
Thank you so much for this!
It helped me realize that even though I listen, I also probably throw out too much advice, and that is one of my biggest mistakes.
Sometimes, you don't need words to show someone you're there for them.
My friends know that if they fall down I'll pick them up and take care of them I'll carry them on my back if I have to but when it comes to emotions I'm not good at it. How I do on my own emotions is just get over it and I feel saying that to someone in distress would upset them. This video really helped.
I'm so glad someone asked this. Thanks for the great answer, Cristen. I never know exactly what to do or say when trying to comfort someone. I usually end up trying to give them appropriate Bible scriptures to fit their situation and possibly a big hug. I lean to hoping God's words will make them feel better. I'm not sure if it helps them, but that's all I know to do.
OMG. This video came just in time..literally yesterday my friend who i havent spoken to in a couple weeks told me 1). her mom has cancer 2) her boyfriend broke up with her 3) her cat has liver disease and we're also in the middle of our masters degree...I just dont know what I can do to make her feel better
Listening, yes. Even if I really comfort I'm not likely to make myself vulnerable to someone who will spend more time offering advice than actually listening to me. And if I do ask for help, how can someone help if they haven't really listened?
Awww... I see some lovely comments here about friends helping friends. I've always wanted and sought out friends (after high school) but I'm turning 29 this year and nope, I just don't have friends. Not anyone that I can physically hang out with that is. I do have awesome "Internet" friends. Is it possible that some people just aren't meant to have that? I know I'm not a shitty person or anything. :)
Great video! My best friend just informed me over text a few days ago that she is feeling luke warm about her boyfriend of a year since she doesn't feel she connects with him deeply, and I definitely gave her some advice and a bit of comforting, but she is more so disappointed rather than miserable. It's really nice to feel helpful in these situations. I did the big no-no of doing this over text, but I think it's okay in my case since she lives far away, and we hate speaking on the phone. And there's also the fact that she's not in huge emotional stress.
I love all your "did y'all know such-and-such crazy science-related thing!?" videos, but I REALLY, REALLY liked this video. It was...moving, not just entertaining and spoke to the deeper aspects of the human condition. I say, if you're capable of making videos like this, ya should do it more. Thanks for doing this project. It's wonderful.
Yes! I had pretty severe depression and anxiety a couple years back, and the best things my friends did for me wasn't trying to "fix" me...it was just being there to talk to and letting me know that I had worth and I was loved, that kept me going
When it comes to validating, what do I do if I honestly think they are being ridiculous about a problem or overreacting to a situation? I am a very kind and compassionate type of person, but there are some things I've had people come to me about that I would be compromising a huge part of myself to tell them that I agreed or they were justified. This is actually becoming quite the issue for me and I don't understand how to get past it.
Don't be scared to just listen when people need it! I've always been shy/awkward and I ended up counseling people for a living. It's a challenge for those of us that feel socially inept but it amazes me every day how much my clients appreciate what feel like insignificant gestures to me (listening, allowing for silence, normalizing, acknowledging that sometimes life sucks, etc.). A little goes a long way!
I feel like I am terrible at comforting people. I believe that I am both shy and socially awkward, and since I can't use my words well (on the spot instead of through text) then if they are truly having a rough time, I just give them a hug. I know that's what I like when I am emotional. Almost two weeks ago my father passed away, and I internalize my feelings much more than I should. I didn't cry until I was either by myself or when I saw him in the casket. It was very rough and people kept telling me that they were sorry - which is a wonderful and caring gesture, but it just wears you down until you just feel like bursting into tears. Thankfully my boyfriend was there to give me plenty of hugs throughout the day of his visitation. Cristen, could you do a video about the mourning process or how to better cope emotions during bad time like what I'm going through?
I love this, good advice! I totally get what you said about not offering advice straight away and listening first. I think when you really care about someone you want to fix their problems but just bombarding them with advice or talking about your own experience can be frustrating for the person needing comfort. I personally need to cry it out or let out my feelings about something before I can listen to advice. But that being said, I do appreciate the advice my loved ones give me, just at the right time :)
I'd like to think I'm a good listener and I've always worked hard to be comforting and empathetic when I think someone needs it. But it can be really hard sometimes.
I have a friend who complains a lot. Often about the same things over and over. Everyday. It can get frustrating. What do you do when someone complain so much and never does anything to change the situation they're in?
It might also be worth noting that some people are comforted best by solitude and silence. So try to respect other people's decisions and trust that they know what's best for them... unless it's obvious beyond the shadow of a doubt that they don't.