Whether it’s a health crisis, relationship breakdown or serious financial failure, when a loved one is hurting, it can be tempting to jump in and fix the problem.

Helping financially, taking responsibility for an ongoing problem, or taking over care for someone sick can all be natural action steps to help a friend in need.

But what if we told you that the best way to support someone close to you going through problems is from afar?

Here are four reasons to care for someone from a distance without trying to carry them through their crisis.

It may look like you don’t believe in them

Trying to take someone’s problems away might make them feel like they don’t have the skills, experience or strength necessary to travel through their own adversity. By all means, give advice when asked or help out when needed, but taking over and trying to take their load away can show your friend or loved one that you don’t believe they have what it takes to make it through by themselves.

Their journey isn’t yours

While you might think you’d respond one way to a specific situation, it doesn’t mean that your friend should or would do the same.

Try to remember that your loved one has their own path to carve. While two people can be in the same situation, by following your intuition and listening to your own heart, both people can have completely different outcomes.

It can stop them from growing and evolving

We grow through what we go through. If problems are solved for us, it detracts from lessons learnt, strength gained and life-altering perspectives. Our trials are often our most significant life teachers and can even change who we are as people. By carrying the load and trying to stop a friend or loved one from feeling pain or trauma, you risk interrupting their personal growth journey and stunting any personal developments that may arise from their situation.

It can detract from your reason why

If you feel the need to jump in and rescue those around you whenever they run into hard times, ask yourself why. It can be common to detract from our own inner work by creating a co-dependent role in other people’s circumstances. When this happens, your focus turns to the situation of others instead of what’s going on within.

What to do instead:

Problems come and go, and the world keeps turning by caring for others and being there for each other in times of crisis. Rather than trying to fix or take away a loved one’s circumstances, try these methods of helping instead:

Keep in regular contact

Sometimes all someone needs to know is that they’re not alone. Check in regularly but avoid asking direct questions that make your friend feel like they have to reply. If you don’t hear back, don’t hound them but leave the lines of communication open and try again another day.

Ask them what they want you to do

Not everyone will know what they need in the middle of a crisis but asking the question will let your friend or loved one know that you’re there if they choose to accept your help.

Lighten the practical load

Practical ways to support someone include arranging a house clean, sending supermarket or gift vouchers, arranging meal delivery or simply leaving a pre-prepared dish on the doorstep. These are all ways to lend a hand and show you care without imposition.

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