How to Help a Friend Struggling With Grief
posted on July 24, 2018 | by Jess Ciesla
I know when we hear the words loss and grief, we almost always associate it with death. But it doesn’t always have to be an actual death. What do I mean by that? Well, loss can have many meanings, and believe it or not, you can grieve someone who is still alive. Let me explain.
I have a good friend who is going through a very tough time right now. She’s been grieving her living father for many years. Although he’s still living, she’s lost him to alcohol. Growing up, he was always the life of the party. He was the fun guy. But he was struggling with a disease. He was an alcoholic. Fast forward about 10 years and the disease has become a real problem. Him and his wife went through a divorce, and most of his children barely speak to him anymore, including my friend. She is grieving the loss of her father. Although he’s still physically here, he’s not the same father he was 10+ years ago. It’s been difficult watching my friend go through this, and learning how to be there for her has been the hardest part. If you’re going through something similar, here are a few of my best tips.
Be A Good Listener
It’s hard to give someone advice on something that you haven’t gone through yourself. As much as you try to relate to this person, it’s almost impossible unless you’ve been in their position. It’s OK if you don’t have all the answers. Part of being a good friend and being there for someone is the ability to listen. Let them tell you how they feel. Make sure they know that they can come to you if they ever need someone to talk to. Simply listen to them. It goes a long way.
Don’t Be Pushy
Sometimes people don’t want to talk about their problems. Or they’re just not ready to talk yet. Don’t push the conversation. I’m sure they think about it all the time, and when they hang out with you, they don’t want to think about all the bad things that are happening to them. Give them space and when they’re ready, they’ll confide in you.
Reach Out To Them
When someone is going through a tough time, it can be easy to become a hermit. They no longer want to go out and have fun because they’re constantly feeling bad. Even if you get rejected every time you ask to hang out, keep doing it. Keep reaching out and letting them know you’re thinking of them. Trust me, they will thank you for it.
Loss is a tough thing. It’s not something we want to experience, and when it happens, it’s hard to bounce back. If you have a friend who is going through a rough time, be patient and understanding. Know that they need you right now even if they aren’t asking for your help.
Thanks for reading, friends! I hope this was helpful.
And chime in if you have advice – whether as the person grieving or the friend.