back to top
Health

18 Ways You Can Help A Loved One Going Through A Hard Time

"Being there ~with~ someone can be more powerful than being there ~for~ them."

Posted on

1. Remind them that you value them — even if they don't ask!

Sarah Kobos / BuzzFeed

"My boyfriend, family, and best friends are so great about sending the random text or email or whatever to say they're thinking of me — especially when I'm in a bad low — and sometimes it's the only thing that can pull me out of it."

Arianna Rebolini

2. Put together a box of things that comfort them.

Sarah Kobos / BuzzFeed

"When I was dealing with my illness, my friend learned my coping mechanisms and filled a box with things like silly putty, lotion, crayons, and encouraging notes. It was not only incredibly thoughtful and touching, but it really helped me. Thank you, Lexie."

Katherine Fiorillo

3. Watch their favorite movie with them.

Sarah Kobos / BuzzFeed

"When I was going through depression, my friend (Allie) came over watched 500 Days Of Summer with me (yes, I'm a sap). I pretty much was just sitting there crying like a mess next to her the entire time, and she was just there. I've never forgotten about that."

Brett Vergara

4. Make them laugh... just not at their expense. (Also, hugs are cool.)

Sarah Kobos / BuzzFeed

"I have ADD, and whenever I zone out, my friend calls me out but in this gentle, 'I get that you do this and it's ok but hi, I'm here!' kind of way. It doesn't feel accusatory, like when some people say 'you only care when you talk,' which genuinely isn't true. Plus, in general, me and her laugh all the time about everything, and those kinds of friendships only bring you good feelings. :)"

Julia Pugachevsky

Advertisement

5. Take them out for a coffee date.

Sarah Kobos / BuzzFeed

"A little coffee and a snack can go a long way in making me feel better when I'm feeling off. Getting out of the house and having someone to chat with while snacking are just extra bonuses!"

Karen Hobowsky

6. Bring them their favorite food.

Sarah Kobos / BuzzFeed

"When someone's feeling low, even the simplest tasks can often seem overwhelming. Which means that the simplest gestures can be incredibly helpful. To make someone their favorite food is a wonderful and easy way to let them know that you care about them."

Isaac Fitzgerald

7. Give them a head massage.

Sarah Kobos / BuzzFeed

"One of the most comforting things that my mom or my friends would do for me in college was give me head and hand massages. During anxiety attacks or while feeling super stressed out, the physical act of someone kneading my hand or scratching my head was incredibly calming. It was a closer way for me to feel safe."

Christina Lan

8. Remind them that even when the world seems dark & negative, they always have someone to confide in.

Sarah Kobos / BuzzFeed

"Every friend who has ever helped me feel better did so by just being there for me. If I open up to someone and they want to listen or grab some ice cream with me until I feel better, that's the most comforting feeling in the world."

Anna Kopsky

Advertisement

9. Make them a playlist with all their favorite songs.

Sarah Kobos / BuzzFeed

"When I was really sad about a lame dating situation, my best friend made me a playlist of all my favorite happy songs. I lived alone at the time, so I used to just blast it in my apartment, and it helped me cheer up even when she wasn't there with me."

Annie Daly

10. Have a sleepover.

Sarah Kobos / BuzzFeed

"I can manage my sleep problems (insomnia, nightmares, sleep paralysis) but during periods of bad anxiety, they feel catastrophic. So there were nights when my best friend Carolina or my mom would sleep over with me in the same bed, even though I'm a notorious sleep-kicker and thrasher. It made me feel calm, safe, and loved. Every peaceful night of sleep facilitated by them meant the world."

Caroline Kee

11. Listen.

Sarah Kobos / BuzzFeed

"Sometimes, there isn't much you can do for a person who's struggling beyond listening — and thats OK! I find that asking people questions about what they're going through and then taking that in makes both of us feel more understood. The important thing to remember is that you don't *need* to have a response for everything. Just hearing a person out is enough."

Julia Furlan

12. Help run errands.

Sarah Kobos / BuzzFeed

"The nicest things that anyone has ever done for me are running errands for me when I'm too depressed to get out of bed or two anxious to leave the house. It doesn't have to be anything big; you don't have to do a full grocery shop for your friend. But when taking care of themselves feels impossible, coming over and quietly making them dinner, or bringing by some food, or offering to drop off and pick up their laundry can be huge, huge, huge. Same for finding a therapist — helping them make the first calls or send the first emails can be the difference between getting help and not getting it. Little, considerate things!"

Kaye Toal

Advertisement

13. Write them a letter.

Sarah Kobos / BuzzFeed

"In college, it took a letter from one of my best friends to finally make me realize that instead of trying to ignore and push down what I was going through, I should be dealing with it. Just letting me know that she recognized I was struggling (even from hundreds of miles away) and that she was there whenever I felt ready to talk, meant the world to me."

Casey Gueren

14. Remind them of all the reasons you love them and are thankful to have them in your life.

Sarah Kobos / BuzzFeed

"When you're depressed it's almost impossible to remember who you are and how to love yourself. When things were especially hard, I would read letters, look at texts, or listen to old voice messages where my family and friends would list the reasons I meant so much to them and it would be enough to get me through each day. I could never express how thankful I am to have such wonderful, amazing people in my life."

Shannon Rosenberg

15. Just be there without judging. (And bring fried chicken!)

Sarah Kobos / BuzzFeed

"Something happened where I COULD NOT stop crying. Even though I knew my friend would think what I was crying over was stupid (yes, it was kind of stupid), she went out of her way to come over. She didn't validate the stupid stuff I was saying but she didn't shoot it down either — it helped to know that someone was listening.

I hadn't had an appetite in 2 days and another friend ended up coming over with fried chicken which I had jokingly asked for. I was instantly hungry and I now realize it's my comfort food."

Annie Yu

16. Hug them for as long as they need.

Sarah Kobos / BuzzFeed

"I have friends who give amazing hugs and they let me hold on to them for as long as I need until I feel better. They don't have to say anything. It just helps to know that they're there."

Matt Ortile

Advertisement

17. Bring them a furry friend to play with.

"The unconditional love — and to be honest, the distraction from anxiety and depression — that a pet provides can be a lifesaver. Especially when they can sense that you are terribly sad or crying and they get all up in your space and lick your face and their breath is gross and somehow that makes you feel better."

Emily Fleischaker

18. Being there ~with~ someone can be more powerful than being there ~for~ them. Sit with them. Cry with them. Laugh with them.

Sarah Kobos / BuzzFeed

"When my brother passed away last year, my best friends took off of work and cancelled plans to come be with me at every wake and the funeral. And in the year since he died, they've consistently gone out of their way to be at my apartment with me, wearing pajamas, watching movies on a Saturday night when I know they'd rather be out having fun somewhere. They never make me feel guilty about asking them to stay in. They show up without question and it makes me feel SO loved."

Augusta Falletta