When your friend is feeling hurt, there are ways to comfort him during this emotional period that will help him feel that he is not alone. It is much more difficult to get through emotional pain when there is no one to share the pain with or to confide in about what is going on. Be there for your friend and offer the comfort he needs.
1. Don't Wait for an Invite
Dr. Julie Barrier, a minister and author, suggests, that "whenever you see hurt, comfort it." An invitation is not required when someone you care for is hurting. Don't wait to be called when you are aware of a possibly upsetting situation for your friend. Reach out and let him know you are there. If he is not receptive at that moment, the seed of comfort you planted will grow. Whether or not he chooses to take you up on your offer, he will be grateful for your concern.
2. Join the Journey
Provide comfort on his tough journey. A health newsletter published by Harvard Medical Publications notes, "You can't take away the pain, but your presence is more important than it seems." Give your undivided attention: turn off your ringer off and devote a block of time to him. Standing by his side, whether in silence or by listening attentively, is one of the most helpful ways you can support him in his time of need.
3. Open Your Ears
Listen carefully to what your friend is saying and try not to interrupt. Allow periods of silence to pass without speaking a word. More often than not, your friend will have something more to say. In this situation, all that matters is that he has the chance to vent his emotions without being spoken over. As Michael P. Nichols, Ph.D., explains in his book "The Lost Art of Listening," "It take two people to share a feeling -- one to talk and one to listen." Let your friend share his feelings with you; he needs your ear to feel the comfort you are trying to give him.
4. Follow Your Heart
If you are truly listening, you do not have time to judge. Once you leave your friend's presence, you may begin to formulate an opinion on how he should grieve or avoid a similar situation in the future. Avoid judging him at all costs. Take note, though, if you feel that his life or well-being is in danger. If professional help is called for, suggest it in a supporting tone and get a referral from a friend or loved one. Assure him that this professional helped someone close to you during a time of need. If he refuses to seek help, yet you are still concerned, get assistance from someone he trusts.
- Crosswalk.com: Not "Touchy-Feely?" Here's How to Comfort Hurts
- Harvard Health Publications: 11 Ways to Comfort Someone Who’s Grieving
- The Lost Art of Listening; Michael P. Nichols, Ph.D.
- Helping Your Grieving Friend; Donald W. Steele, Ph.D.
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images