The Best Ways to Support a Loved One


People go through tough times and mental health struggles all the time, but it can be hard to know exactly what to do to help out a friend or loved one in need, even if you know them well. If you love someone who happens to be going through a tough time, you probably want to offer them whatever support you can. Each person needs different support, just like everyone offers help in their own way. And there are so many ways you can offer them the care they need, no matter what part of their support system you are.

No matter what your loved one is going through — whether it’s an addiction, a breakup or the loss of someone close to them — there are ways you can offer help and support. While nobody can truly fix pain or make tough times completely go away, your presence in their life can help them feel better about the situation, even if it’s just about offering a distraction. If you’re looking to help someone you love through a rough patch, here are a few things you can do to show you care.

Offer Distractions

Sometimes, when someone is having a rough time with anything that weighs heavily on them, bringing in a distraction can be a truly welcome change. While each person will inevitably need their own form of distraction, knowing what your loved one likes can give you a bit of a lead. Watch a movie they love together, bring some snacks, play a game or engage in any distraction they might like. Support doesn’t always have to be about the serious stuff.

Don’t Criticize

It isn’t always easy to completely put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and even if you can, it doesn’t always do very much for the situation at hand to talk about what you would have done, or how the situation could have gone differently or been handled differently. Criticizing someone when they’re having a difficult time can often make your loved one feel alone or isolated, so it’s best to avoid that behavior.

Ask What They Need

Communication is key, especially when someone you love is down in the dumps. Sadness and rough times can make it hard to ask for the help that’s truly important, which is why asking them directly what you can do is often a great way to get where you need to go, both for them receiving support and for you offering it. You can’t read minds because nobody can, but you can communicate with one another.

Help Them Find Professional Support

Sometimes, tough times require professionals to step in and help out with the situation at hand, especially when the issue is related to substance abuse, mental health struggles or anything else that could put your loved one in danger. While some people think therapy isn’t worth it, or even that it’s too expensive, finding a professional to help with whatever’s going on can put things back on track in a way you may not be able to without a mental health background. Encourage them to check with their insurance, as insurance often covers a variety of treatment options. Even without it, wellness is worth a lot, especially compared to the alternative.

Learn Their Love Language

When you’re trying to show love and support to someone, knowing how they prefer to receive it can make a big difference in how effective it is. If you don’t already know their love language, ask about it or even take the quiz together. That way, you can tell for sure what they prefer out of love. You can figure out if it’s better to get them something nice as a surprise gift or do some chores around their place. It’s all about knowing them well and showing them you care.

Hold Them Accountable

Sometimes, showing support isn’t just about the softer side. In fact, holding people accountable is one of the best ways to express your love and support for them. Whether your loved one is reaching towards a goal, trying to get back on their feet or keeping out of destructive behaviors, showing your support by being an accountability partner is a great way to not only help them feel better, but also practice better habits for the future.

The Best Ways to Support the Ones You Love

There are so many ways to show the support your loved ones need. No matter what kind of situation they’re in, stepping in to lend a helping hand and remind them how loved they are can seldom go wrong. Whether your loved one is going through a loss, divorce, addiction or anything else, knowing they can turn to you is already a big step. And by holding them accountable and communicating well, you can deliver on everything you want to provide for them, one day at a time.

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