Despite living in a world where we are so hyper-connected to those around us, it can be hard to know when one of our friends is hurting. With perfectly curated Instagram photos and lighthearted humor filling our feeds, we can be led to believe that what we see online is reality. However, this is often far from the truth.
Quarantine has created a unique circumstance where we have to become more innovative on how to stay connected. The people we used to see every day at school or extracurricular activities are now harder to stay close to. Due to this, many of us have been experiencing an increase in feelings of isolation and stress. Now more than ever, in our current age of isolation, it is incredibly important to reach out to friends to check on how they are fairing with this difficult time. It is time The following is a list of starters and tips for reaching out to check on friends.
First and foremost, recognize that something is wrong. Have they been acting differently or more distant? Maybe they said something that was out of character for them. Whatever it is, trust your gut because after all, they are your friend. If something seems out of the ordinary, it most likely is. Even if they are okay, it's better to say something and be wrong rather than stay quiet when they are hurting. Either way, you might learn something new about this person and gain a better insight into their thought processes.
Even if they aren’t a close friend, make it clear that you are there for them: to listen, to talk, or just to take their mind off of the stressor. Saying something as simple as “Hey, just know that I’m here for you whenever you need,” can open up lines of communication and make them comfortable. It also allows them to reciprocate the gesture so you too have someone you can talk to.
Be the listener, not the advisor. Even if it seems like you know exactly how to help them, don’t bombard them with advice on how to fix their issues unless they ask. Instead, be an active and patient listener by allowing them to talk through what they are going through. Ask simple questions that help them better articulate their thoughts, but don’t push them to tell you something they are not comfortable with.
Check up consistently. Make it a habit to ensure that your friends can see that you pay attention and care about them, it will mean the world. Doing this also makes them more likely to return the favor when you are feeling down. After all, treat people the way you want to be treated, right?
Although I hope that these tips are beneficial, they are quite general. Situations that arise in your personal life will be unique to you. Use these tips in conjunction with your intuition to be a better friend and spread a little more happiness.