Friends should be able to reach out to other friends in times of need. Whether it is a bad breakup, a death in the family, or a loss of job we should always have friends that we can talk to make things better. As a good friend you want to be there to pick up the phone for them, but sometimes the person on the other end is so constantly down that you’re not able to keep it up. In order to the friend that is there to pick up a friend when they are down, you have to be able to maintain your high spirits and that’s hard to do when you have a person bringing you into their abyss.
Most people don’t even notice they are pushing their friends away. They think they have a really good support group. However, some know it. But they crave relevance and attention so much that they are afraid to not have something going on with them because then they’ll lose the attention. The issue is that it’s just so hard to say back to someone. “I’m sorry, but I’m actually having a great day. I’m sure it’s tough that you haven’t been able to find a job in months, but can we speak about it tomorrow?” Maybe then you’d be able to get the other person to evaluate their behavior.
There are indirect ways you can help your friend. One of the strategies that I use most is helping a person to take control of their situation. If a person is complaining about not having a job, ask them, What have you done today to get yourself in a better position to be hired? Or a recent break up, What have you done today to make yourself a better girlfriend in the future? This strategy keeps a person from bringing you too far down, and may cause them to help themselves. If anything they’ll stop calling you because you won’t allow them to feel sorry for themselves.
On a more serious note, if you have a friend who you fear is suffering from depression or may even be a hypochondriac encourage them to get help. But even sometimes as a friend you need to get help. I know as Dr. J and as a life coach, sometimes you put so many problems from other people on your shoulders you need help too. I need help for helping the people that need help. What do I do about a person who is bummed and contemplating suicide? This is a time when I need to seek out professional help for how I should react.
If you suspect that you are the type of friend who is always depressed. Evaluate how much you call on someone to vent, complain or with bad news. Also, before you vent, always check and see how the other person is doing first. Never ruin someone’s good day on account of wanting sympathy. Lastly, know that there are hotlines that you can call to vent and get help. If you really feel you have an issue that needs solving, solve it. Don’t bring insist that just because your day sucks, someone else’s day should suck. Moreover, the responsibility should be on the complainer to decipher whether their news will bring another person down or leave them with a smile on their face. Instead of getting help, you may just pushing people further away from you. In the future when you really need help, there probably won’t be anyone around to help you.