“Call Me If You Need Anything”

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

    Reach out.

    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.

About etiquetteottawa

Founder and Owner of the Protocol School Of Ottawa
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6 Responses to “Call Me If You Need Anything”

  1. karenhickman says:

    Suzanne,
    These are such good points for us all to remember. When my late husband was very ill and just home from the hospital one of my dear friends organized food to be brought in everyday without any prompting from me. She just emailed a schedule to our mutual friends and they signed up for the days they were able to help. Meals just appeared on my door step and it was wonderful not to have to worry about food. I am sure I would have never asked for this help, but it was so appreciated.

  2. @amwaters says:

    You can never post and repost these words enough. Well done Suzanne! Friends do have to be specific. And your first suggestion is one I always appreciate. Just being asked out for a coffee and/or a walk. Getting away from it all is a break of epic proportions.

    Karen also shares the wonderful gift idea of food. So great for a friend to organize. On a few occasions of deaths in our family, my husband was the ‘point person’ for food. When people wanted to give, he was able to help with when and letting them know how many people would be around etc. And also on ‘tastes’ as not to waste. ie. if there were family members not into something like say pork. And just balancing choices so every gift wasn’t a lasagna. He juggled kindness with the practicality of the situation. Our family was so grateful that he would help the rest of us in that way.

    Keeping up with someone dealing with big things takes a lot of work. It takes persistence. Those in pain can be very stealthy. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need a lot of love and support. I have friends that are real naturals at this. And others, well, not so much. I try not to dwell on that. I think many of us learn our roles when we are on the receiving end of care and kindness during a particularly tough time in our lives. And for some, that experience comes a little later in life.

    • Great comments, Ann. Food organization is so important. It causes more stress for an individual if five casseroles appear on the doorstep all at once. Your comments, like Karen’s, indicate that we can learn from that special someone that I hope we all have in our lives.

  3. Katherine says:

    I found a link to your blog from an Ottawa foodie! Such a great entry – so true. Must remember this – it’s so easy just to leave it be and think “well I did offer!”. Such great helpful tips! Thanks!

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