We’ve all said it. “Call me if you need anything.” Most likely it was when a friend was facing a difficult time: grieving, illness, divorce, job loss, or any of the challenges that can overwhelm us.
We’ve all said it, and we’ve all meant it. The offer is made with the sincerity, compassion, and friendship. Just reach out to me and I’ll be there.
Last week I asked a friend (A) about a dear friend (B) of hers. Here’s the conversation:
ME: How is your friend B? You mentioned last month she was facing a difficult time.
A: Well, she must be doing OK. I told her to call me if she needed me and she hasn’t so I guess things are coming along.
I can tell you’ve spotted the problem. Most of the time the person in need won’t reach out. Did you when fill in the blank happened? Probably not. You stuck it out alone even though friends had told you to “Call me if you need anything.”
A few suggestions to reach out:
- Periodically call and suggest coffee/tea, a walk, an ear.
- Several weeks or months after the event, the person still needs
comfort. Pick up the phone. That casserole may be even more appreciated and needed weeks later.
- Include their children in events when you take your own.
- Rephrase some questions. Instead of, “Do you need anything from the grocery store?”, try “I’m going to the grocery store, what can I pick up for you? Milk? Bread?”
- When you do call or visit, listen. This is not the time to one-up with your own sad stories.
What did a friend do for you that helped ease your challenge? What did you find of comfort? Pass them along here. We all need to know more how to truly help each other, how to reach out.