I recently had a call from a client about a friend of hers who is struggling with a serious chronic illness, and she didn’t know what to say or how to be with her.
Have you ever felt like my client?
If so, just remember IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU and your comfort level. It’s about the friend who is struggling and his/her comfort level, and she needs you.
Here are a few tips:
– Listen to her. You don’t need to comfort her with words. The comfort comes from your listening, not what you say or don’t say.
– Don’t try to fix her or tell her you understand, because you don’t.
– Don’t always just offer to do things. Show up instead. Call to say I’m coming by to get you for lunch. I’m coming by to clean your house. I’m coming by with a milkshake. I’m coming by to give you a hug. If she doesn’t feel like it, that’s fine, because at least she will know that you tried. Try again in a day or two.
– Send cards. Send emails. Send Facebook messages. Make her a video. Use the telephone and call her! Try Facetime or Skype. Let her hear your voice and see your face.
– Don’t be afraid of canes, walkers, wheelchairs, i.v. lines, oxygen tanks, bandages, etc. They won’t bite. Let your friend who uses them tell you about them and how to manage them. Most of the equipment will fit in your car.
– Take her for a ride. Go to the park, go to your backyard, go to a drive-thru and just sit in the car and have coffee.
Whatever you do, don’t avoid her. The goal is just to be there. Hold space with her. Hold time. Hold her pain. Hold her frustration. Hold her tears. Hold her grief. Hold her friendship. Hold her love.
Be you. Be love. BE THERE!