What To Say When You or A Friend Is Going Through A Rough Time
As a life coach, you would probably think that I’d know all the ‘right’ things to say to someone who is going through a tough time.
I know many people in my close circle who have experienced challenging times in the past 12 months. Whether it’s grief, heartbreak, anxiety or that unexplainable knot of stress that has comfortably planted itself in the body– nothing can quite prepare you for the low times when they sneak up on you giving you the biggest chinese burn of all time. Of course, it’s hard when you’re in the thick of your own shit storm, but when you see the people that you love get stuck in the midst of it? Helpless. And at a total loss for words!
I’m perfectly comfortable in those vulnerable moments with my coaching clients. Tears? Let them flow. Snot? No worries. The right amount of space, tenderness, thoughtful listening and questioning just seems to happen within the coaching space yet outside of that, it’s almost like my mind goes to mush.
I know that my friends don’t necessarily expect or want to be ‘coached’ throughout this time and let’s be honest, those inspirational quotes just ain’t gonna’ cut it right now. So how do we show up for our friends and support them, especially during these rough times?
The answer is… I don’t know.
Every person deals with hard times differently so there isn’t a ‘one size fit’s all’ answer here. One question that I think we need to ask each other more often (regardless of how we’re feeling is):
How can I support you? Or
What do you need right now to feel supported?
Many of us struggle to even articulate what we want or need in those soul-crushing moments but it’s something that we need to start thinking about.
What do YOU need to feel supported? Have you had this conversation with your family or friends?
I’m a talker. If I’m feeling crapola, I need to vent and my husband and Mum can totally vouch for that! I don’t need you to come up with any solutions for me, offer up any advice, or tell me ‘you’ll be right’. I need a safe space to let out all of my feelings and simply be heard. This makes me feel supported (and a big hug doesn’t hurt either).
On the flipside, there are some people that simply don’t like talking it out. Maybe they need you to swoop in and take their mind off things, or they’d prefer a quick text that says, ‘I’m thinking of you.’
The best way to know how to support someone is to…ask. I know it can feel uncomfortable bringing these things up in conversation but it’s about time we reached out instead of simply giving each other a ‘like’ on Facebook or a heart on Instagram.
I’m still working out how I can be the best friend, wife, sister, daughter, colleague and coach but it all starts with having the courage to lean in even closer.
Let’s not shy away when shit hits the fan for our friends, or ourselves for that matter. Let’s try to understand one another that bit better knowing that the smallest act of kindness could have the greatest impact.
I’ve been on the receiving end of words such as ‘I’m here for you’ and never underestimate the question; ‘how are you feeling, love?’ I can tell you, those check-ins no matter how simple they may seem have brought me so much comfort.
So tell me in the comments below; How do you feel supported? What has helped you in the past to get through those rough times? Is it time you reached out for help? I have so much more to share on this topic but until then, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Ps. If you’re needing some extra support from a coach, you can read all about whether coaching is the right fit for you here. Having the accountability and space to talk about your challenges and your dreams may just be the thing that you need to feel supported in your life.