The nature of life is such that, occasionally, we all experience traumatic events. We don’t mean for them to occur – they just do. And when a friend or a close family member suffers from an upsetting event, it’s important to know what to do to help them through the aftermath.
When you’re in this position, you’ll feel unsure, confused, and may not know what to do or say to help.
Consider these strategies whenever someone close to you suffers a trauma:
1. Use your past knowledge of the person. Is he usually quiet? Does she talk your leg off normally? Consider how they might respond to the troubling event they’ve recently experienced.
Anticipating how your friend will behave can help you be better prepared to be the best friend you can be to your cherished loved one.
2. Be supportive. When you’re near the person, think about what you could to do help them most. Focus your efforts. Do they usually enjoy going for a walk or out for coffee? Maybe they’ve always loved going to lunch at a particular restaurant. You can be supportive by inviting your friend to do things they enjoy. If she doesn’t appear interested, consider inviting her to a quiet dinner and evening watching a movie at your house. Going to your home might be a more relaxing, less overwhelming experience for your friend than going out. Allow your loved one to move at his own pace. He must experience his journey as he chooses.
3. Acknowledge to your friend that you’re sorry about what happened to them. Sometimes, a statement as simple as, “I’m so sorry this happened to you” can be all that’s necessary to give your friend the opportunity to talk openly about how they feel.
Giving this simple “sorry” also provides important acknowledgment to your friend that you recognize he’s been through a major event in his life. Doing so is at least one step closer to showing you’re interested in understanding how he feels.
4. Tell your friend you’ll be there for them at any time. Make it clear that your friend is free to call you or drop by your home whenever they would like it within reason and provided if they call first to let you know. Even though it might take some effort on your part to be on stand-by for them, later on, you’ll be glad you did.
Strive to do whatever it takes to come to his aid.
5. Call your friend more frequently than usual to check in with them. Share information about your day or what you’ve been doing. Talk about the book you’re reading or how your kids are doing in school. Hopefully, your friend will do the same. Be positive.
Taking this step will begin to normalize your friend’s life again, which is usually welcomed, given the unusual trauma they’ve recently experienced.
6. Listen. Many times, someone who’s gone through a troubling time simply wants to talk about it. It’s not even necessary to comment or give your opinion of what your friend has been through. As long as you’re listening, they know you care.
7. Have patience. Because your friend might not recover in the same way that you would or that you expect him to, patience will come in handy. There’s no defined timeline for getting over a traumatic event. Therefore, having patience will enable your friend to re-blossom at a pace necessary for him.
When someone you care about experiences a traumatic event, it might take them a long time to fully recover from it. However, you can serve as a great support to encourage your friend to gradually get back into the swing of life.
Following the simple steps above will aid you to provide the special assistance your friend needs to continue peacefully down life’s path.
Your optimism, confidence, and personal fulfillment will prosper when you reach out to help a loved one in need.
"I believe forgiveness is the best form of love in any relationship. It takes a strong person to say they're sorry and an even stronger person to forgive." - Yolanda Hadid
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