It can be really lonely and scary when we are having any problem, or when we are feeling difficult emotions. Having a good friend or friendship can make a world of difference.
Top tips to being a good friend
- Try to be patient. A person might not feel able to speak, know what to say or how to say it. They could also get nervous and change the topic, hang up or run away but if you give them another chance they might find a way to talk to you.
- Try not to judge the person or what is happening to them (if they feel judged they might close up and not speak to anyone else or it could make them feel worse)
- Help the person find information from a reliable source so you can both learn about the problem and what to do about it together.
- Ask the person what helps and what doesn’t (it’s not always obvious)
- Be as reliable as you can be
- Tell them you are glad they talked to you
- Try to put yourself in their shoes rather than telling them what you would do (they have different skills, feelings, experiences and people to you)
- If your friend asks for an opinion, be honest. But be as kind as you can be about it.
- If you and your friend can’t fix the problem together, support them in finding someone they can ask for help.
- Don’t forget your friend is still your friend, and there is more to your relationship than the problem they are facing. Try to talk about and do some of the things you usually do
- Ask for help yourself if you need it – it can be daunting and tiring being a friend to someone with a problem. You don’t have to break a confidence to ask for help for yourself – you could always call Childline on 0800 1111 for example, where you don’t even have to give your name.
If you are worried about your friend’s mental or emotional health you can get info and support at Epic Friends.