Category Archives: Friendship

5 Things to Support Your Brokenhearted Friend

Your friend thinks her husband is having an affair.

A family has just lost a loved one to addiction or death.

A co-worker is continually late and unfocused at work due to family problems.

What can you do to support them?

5 Things to Support Your Brokenhearted Friend:

  1. You don’t have to say anything. Listen, empathize, and be available. She needs your support. If you haven’t had a similar experience, it is hard to know what to say. Reassure her that you’ll be alongside. There’s great comfort in facing life’s difficulties with trustworthy support, even if you don’t know what to say. Be there for her.
  2. Take care of her. Treat her to coffee, go for a walk, or give her a journal to write out her feelings and thoughts. Encourage her to exercise, eat healthy, and sleep. Offer to keep her kids so she can nap. Feeling unlovable may obstruct her ability to experience love from others, including God. Practical support speaks volumes.
  3. Check-in regularly. A text message, email, or phone call will brighten your friend’s day. Let her know you’re thinking of her. If you read or hear something that would lift her spirits, send it to her. An old-fashioned note sent in via snail mail is always welcome.
  4. Don’t downplay her pain. Leave Christian platitudes out of the conversations. Too many women are told they must put everyone above themselves. Validate her pain. Cry with her when she’s sad and laugh with her to relieve stress. Just be real.
  5. Help her find additional support. When in crisis, it’s difficult to think clearly. She will appreciate your support in finding a counselor or legal advice if she’s considering filing for separation or divorce. Your friend cannot do this alone. She needs you. She needs others. She needs safe people to walk with her. Help her find a support group dealing with her specific issue: grief, addiction (hers or a loved one’s), or marital problems.

Finally, remind yourself and your friend that you don’t have all the answers. But, God does. He knows us and loves us more deeply than anyone. He will sustain you both as you walk toward brighter days and she will appreciate your support.

Death and Life

One of my family’s favorite films is “Elizabethtown.” It’s a quirky comedy about a man depressed in the aftermath of a fiasco at work and his father’s death. The lead character, Drew Baylor meets Claire, the flight attendant on his red-eye to Kentucky where he’s going for his father’s funeral. In Louisville, Claire and Drew meet Chuck, a soon-to-be groom who is in the hotel hallway. Chuck presumes they are friends who will be at his wedding the following day. Drew explains he’s there for his father’s funeral. Chuck makes this ironic statement that has stayed with me since the first time I watched this movie: “Death and Life. And death and life. Right next door to each other! There’s like, there’s a hair between them.”

Here are a few thoughts to help you process grief. Remember that we grieve not only when someone dies, but at the loss of a job or home, a friendship or marriage, and when our pet dies.

  • Rest. Sleep deprivation robs us of the ability to process emotions and drains our power to cope with the ups and downs of daily living.
  • Journal. Employ the practice of daily journaling to unload the burden of grief. You’ll begin to see through the fog of loss.
  • Delay decisions. While in the depths of sadness and fatigue, don’t make any big decisions that can wait until a time when your head is clearer.
  • Call a friend. A chat on the phone or conversation over a cup of tea helps us see what’s happening in the lives of others we care about. It doesn’t diminish our loss, but gives us hope for the future.
  • Be kind to yourself. Jesus himself said that we are to love others the same way we love ourselves. Make time to do something you enjoy and do it without feeling guilty. You have a life to live.

Death and life. Right next door to each other. Indeed, there’s a hair between them.

Who tells you the truth?

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)

A dear single friend and I served our community together. We shared meals, movies, and memories–lots of ‘em over the years. Her friendship was a rich gift to me. What I valued most about her was her willingness to tell me the truth, even when it was hard fro me to hear it.Friends

One of the most important things this friend ever did for me during a phone conversation was confront me about something I needed to change in my life. She told me the truth. I hung up and thought, “She’s got a lot of nerve. That was so mean. See if I call her anytime soon!” Sometimes the truth stings.

Only a couple of days passed before I called to thank her for what she’d said. I told her how angry I’d been, but how glad I was to have a “truth-telling” friend.

Even though I didn’t immediately recognize it, eventually I treasured her words of truth as the great gifts they were to me. I knew I could trust her with my deepest thoughts and she would be an honest reflection. Who tells you the truth, even when it hurts to hear it?

Acquaintance or Friend? Both?

Peach roseRobin Williams’ untimely death this week casts shadows on anyone who has experienced a dark night of the soul. We were reminded about the reality of our mortality. It saddened me to hear the news. I’ve been a fan since his days as Mork on the TV show Mork and Mindy. We feel like we knew him. He’s part of our history, our memories. He made us laugh and cry. Although we “feel” like we knew him, for most of us he wasn’t even an acquaintance. He was an international celebrity.

So, what about the people we DO know? Think about your friends. How many would you consider close intimate friends? How many are more like acquaintances? Folks we work with or former coworkers or supervisors. Maybe they are neighbors or schoolmates. Perhaps you share similar interests and have been teammates or gym buddies. You might belong to the same church or club or your kids go to the same school. Are you thinking of a few?

When does knowing someone as an acquaintance merge into friendship?

When does a friend elevate to a best friend?

Who is worth investing your time and energy?

I’ve had lots of friends over my 50+ years on the planet. A couple of my friends have been in my life for more than 40 years. Others, I’ve just met. And, still there are a few that I’m getting to know slowly. The following four characteristics are present in intimate friendships.

Here are elements that exist in most close friendships:Friendship

  • Self-disclosure
  • Supportiveness
  • Interaction
  • Being positive

Self-disclosure happens when we reveal something about ourselves hoping the other person will too. If they do, reciprocity takes place and sets the pace for the future deepening of the friendship. Vulnerability results in intimacy, but it’s also risky putting ourselves out there.

Supportiveness is crucial in every season of life. I’ve noticed close bonds of friendship happening between new moms. Mothering a newborn is a solitary occupation (even with a supportive husband, he can’t know exactly what it’s like being a mother). Women need other women to support and encourage one another as they learn to nurture and care for a baby. We’ve all seen evidence of war veteran’s support for one another, as well as cancer survivors clinging to hope and encouraging one another to press on toward good health.

Interaction comes in many forms. It could be meeting your friend to workout at the gym or for coffee. Maybe it’s someone you see regularly at church. Perhaps you pick up your kids from school at the same time. Even when a friend moves to a different neighborhood or country, the bonds of friendship can stay strong with regular and honest interaction by phone, text, email, social media or old-fashioned letter writing.

Being Positive. Who doesn’t like being around positive people? I do. As you read that question, think about the positive people who have influenced your life. You like being in their presence and feel energized and inspired.

I learned these four qualities are aspects of my closest friendships. Take a risk next time you meet someone or encounter an acquaintance you’d like to know better. You might discover a new friendship is blooming.