When a friend is in need, there is a list of things you could say to them. “What is wrong?” “Why are you crying?” “Are you okay?” “What happened?” After they have told you everything and explained why they are crying, there is another list of things you could say to them. The most common on that list is “I understand,” or “I know what you are going through.” This cliché is never the right thing to say (in my book, that is). You cannot fully understand what they are going through, even if you did experience something similar to them. Besides, replying with something like that is almost indicating that you are going to talk about your experiences. Do not. Your friend in need called you so that you could listen to them, support them, help them get through this experience. They did not call you to talk about you. To best avoid any cliché sayings being said, here are some ideas of other things you could respond with and say to your friend in need.
1. “I Am Here.”
“I am here for you. Always have been and I always will be.” “I am here. I am not going anywhere.” “I am going to stay here with you. Okay? I am not going to leave you. I am here with you.” Those are only a few suggestions. The point is that hearing someone state that they will not leave your side, that they are there with you (physically, spiritually, or virtually) has a certain effect on the person it is being said to. It eases their rage, tears, and constant thought train. It makes them realize that they are not alone in their suffering. That someone is there with them. I mean, who would want to suffer alone on a bathroom floor or dark corner of a room? I know I would not.
“I am here for you, always have been, and I always will be.” “I am here. I am not going anywhere.” “I am going to stay here with you. Okay. I am not going to leave you.” Hearing someone state that they are not going to leave your side, that they will are there with you (physically, spiritually, or virtually), has a certain effect on the person it is being said to. It eases their rage, tears, and constant thoughtfulness train that proves to be more damaging than good. It makes the person realize that they are not alone in their suffering. That someone is there with them, and who would not want somebody to sit with them, be there with them, while they endure?
2. “How Are You Doing?”
Whenever a friend in need calls you or shows up at your door sounding and or looking like a heap of tears, your first instinct should be to ask them how they are doing. Obviously, not well because if they were, then they would not be looking or sounding the way that they are. They need you. Someone to be with them for the moment, night, or day. They need their best friend, and that is why they are at your door and or on the phone with you tonight. So, take them in in your arms, (physically or virtually), and just hold them there for a minute. Do not worry. You can rest assured that your friend will tell you everything, even more so after you gave them the biggest and well-needed hug upon their arrival.
3. “I Am Not Leaving.”
“I am not leaving you. Not like this. Not how you are. I am not leaving until you tell me everything. What you are feeling, what was said, what he or she said. Did. I am not leaving you until you feel as if a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders.” That may be a bit too much. It may not. Either way, you get the gist of it. No matter the state your friend in need is in, never leave them feeling the way they are.
Whether you are sitting beside them, holding them, on the phone with them, or going back and forth, texting them. Even if they are softly crying beside you or ripping your eardrums open with their screaming over the phone. Do not leave your friend in that state. They deserve to have someone be there with them. They need someone, and a friend is called a friend for a reason.
4. “I Will Listen.”
Occasionally, when your friend is in need, they will not want you to speak at all. They may just want someone to listen to them as they rant, cry, complain, or scream about the terrible day that they have had, the fight they just finished having with their parents or boyfriend.
Sometimes all your friend needs are for someone to just listen to them as they release all that has been building up inside of them. Just saying the simple phrase: “I will listen to you. So, let it all out, even if it takes all night. I am not going anywhere” is the only thing that needs to be said when being there for your friend in need.
5. “I Love You.”
The three words everybody wants to hear someone say to them. Whether it is face-to-face, through the phone, or a screen. While a friend in need is a friend needing support, care, and strength, they are also someone who needs to be reminded that they are loved. Whether you are a friend, a neighbor, lover, or relative, be sure to tell your friends in need that you love them. Honestly, sometimes saying those three simple words heal faster than a McDonald’s cheeseburger on an empty stomach.
6. “I Care.”
Everyone needs to know that at least one person cares about them and their well-being. Whether it is their family, a family member, co-worker, teacher, classmate, neighbor, lover, or friend. There is no better timing to let someone know that somebody cares about, and for them, then when they need some support, love, and care. When a friend is in need, let them know that you care about them, how they feel, what they are going through, and overall, about them as a person. Whether you are reaching out to them or they are reaching out to you.
Whether they are having an anxiety attack, mental breakdown, in pain, or any other kind of suffering. Just hearing someone say they care could drive them calm down, or at least enough to begin to speak and talk to you. If you need to, take the words from Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope: “I care. I care a lot. It’s kinda my thing.” I mean, you should anyway. They are your friend.