I’ve been kicking myself recently because I feel like I could use a reminder of how to be a better friend.
I have lots of close friends, and I have barely been in contact with any of them over the past 4 weeks whilst we’ve all been in isolation.
My life has been turned upside down, and I’ve inadvertently cut myself off from the world.
I decided to write this article as a reminder about how to be a good friend during this stressful, worrying and overwhelming time.
7 Ways To Be A Better Friend During The Covid-19 Pandemic
So, considering everyone is busy and distracted, and mental illness is on the rise, how can we work on being a better friend?
When a friend comes to you wanting to emote, express, and release their hurt, what can you offer in the way of support?
Below, find 7 simple, yet soul-satisfyingly meaningful gifts to offer a friend in their time of need.
Be A Better Friend By Listening
What do you do when a friend NEEDS to talk?
One way we can really give to those we care about is to simply put a halt to all distractions.
Agree a good time where you can listen to their words and really hear what they’re saying.
If you’re both comfortable with video calls, you can utilize facetime, zoom or houseparty apps to make the connection a little easier.
Whilst listening, you don’t have to judge, troubleshoot, or problem solve on the fly for them, unless that’s what they specifically ask you to do.
Offering the simple gift of listening is often just what a friend may be searching for.
What is empathy?
It is taking a moment to step into another person’s proverbial shoes, and really try to imagine what it is they may be experiencing and feeling.
I like to think I am quite good at empathizing, and I can always see other people’s sides of the story.
It helps if you have already gone through the same challenge that they’re currently facing. But if not, try to take a moment to try and visualize their situation.
What thoughts would you have?
How might you react emotionally?
If your friend tends to be either more emotional or less emotional than you, but you want to try and connect with how they feel, another way to do it is to flash back to something that may have happened to you that produced the same reaction that they’re having now.
That’s a good way to emotionally connect even if you know that their situation would not affect you in quite the same way.
With more and more people caught up in their own personal involvements these days, it can be difficult to have your reality acknowledged.
But this is what validation is all about, and many of us are running around truly suffering from lack of it.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, I have been very up and down emotionally.
One day I’m high as a kite loving life in the garden with my kids on a Saturday, and then I watch the news and I’m down on the ground and I can’t get up.
But then I think, come on girl, get yourself up. There are so many other people suffering, dealing with the horrible stuff, you’re not entitled to feel these feels.
What is validation?
It’s as though someone is saying YES, I see YOU.
YOU are really here.
YOUR situation is real.
The emotions YOU are feeling are real.
YOU have value and YOU are worth thinking about, talking to, sharing and just being with (albeit over the phone or internet!).
This may really depend on the individual situation and what your friend needs at the moment.
Some people seek out support when they’re specifically wanting validation of their feelings, and to be heard.
They may really not need advice at all. But at other times, or with different friends, advice might just be what the doctor ordered.
You’ll have to feel out the situation and get a sense of whether your well-meaning advice will be appreciated and well received.
But even if it isn’t, you can advise in the form of sharing your own stories.
If you have already faced and persevered through whatever this person is going through, you can offer up your own story, for said friend to take or leave the kernel of wisdom that you impart.
A friend who’s feeling in need of support would certainly warm to some encouragement.
This is a very simple but meaningful thing that you can give while showing empathy and concern for another’s troubles.
Positive statements such as “You can do it,” “You’ll get through this,” “You’re a fighter,” and other supportive words will really go far to help a friend feel empowered.
Sometimes a friend will come to you with a problem because they feel like they’re stuck in a loop or caught in a limiting mindset.
The same, negative message keeps playing in their head.
Maybe they’re being too hard on themselves, or maybe they’re laying blame on someone else.
The truth is that your friend has a problem that needs solving, and they’ve come to you because they know they need help.
So perhaps the breakthrough that they really need is a different point of view.
How To Be A Better Friend During Lockdown… A Summary
If more people just freely give each other what they need, when they need it, the world would be a much more nurturing and peaceful place.
Other wonderful gifts you can offer to a friend in need include understanding, commiseration and cooperation.
Can you team up virtually to problem-solve together?
What about just showing you’re there for them with a good attitude and willingness to help in whatever way possible?
It isn’t so difficult to help someone turn things around for themselves and feel good.
How will you support a friend today?
I love these tips, and I love the sentiment here. The pandemic has stretched everyone to the limit. We all need friends now more than ever.
Thank you, Brianne! You’re totally right, and it’s certainly made me think a lot about what is important in life, friends being a big part of it!
Great reminder. Everyone copes differently and has different needs and priorities. Definitely something we need to remember.
Hi Charis – I am certainly trying to remember to check in more with those I care about. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!
Those are all great ways to be a better friend during a lockdown. We live in crazy times, with a lot happening around us. It is always a good idea to work towards being a better friend, why not start now.
Hi Matt! Exactly – the pandemic has really shifted my focus, and I am trying harder with the people I love. Not exactly a pro though, still got a long way to go 😉 Thanks a lot for reading my post, and taking the time to comment.
I feel like I was a crappy friend before COVID… and now? Ugh. I have so much going on, I’m lucky if I talk to my friends once every couple of months.
Aww Heather! I’m sure you’re a great friend – and the friends who you don’t speak to for ages but can pick up things where they left off are the best friends anyway! Thank you for reading and sharing!
Validation is a great suggestion. It is something that makes a big difference for me. I should be a good friend with validation for my friends too.
Hey! Thank you for adding your thoughts – it’s something I have been working on over the last few months! Best wishes xx
It’s been tough for me to catch up with friends because of the pandemic. I think we’re starting to get ‘tired’ of video calls and are looking to get human connection. Thanks for the advice!
Oh defo! I have video calls all week with work, then kinda the last thing I want to do is turn it all back on to chat to my friends! This weekend we are visiting friends in their garden, so it will be really nice to have that connection again! Take care 🙂
Listen! Listen! And listen! I need to do more of this, everyday.
Thank you for sharing!
Lockdown has taken a toll on all of us and we need suggestions like these to keep us going
I agree, in some way or another, the pandemic has taken it’s toll on everyone. Kindness is now needed more than ever! Thanks for stopping by!
I love these tips! I always encourage my friends especially this pandemic. So they will motivate more and more.
That’s great – sounds like you’ve got it totally nailed 🙂
YES!! Love these tips, I agree about listening and empathy too. It is all about checking in and showing that you are there x
Oh defo! Thank you for reading, Melanie – hope to see you again 🙂
This is such a great post! My friends and I have been having virtual group video calls every week or two during lockdown, to keep in touch and catch up on each other’s lives.
That is fantastic, Emily! Glad to hear you and your friends set aside time to check on each other. Thanks a lot for taking the time to go through my post and sharing your thoughts with me. ?
I love this article! So much psychological harm has been done to people worldwide through the events of the past several months. At times I fear that the repercussions of it have been worse than the illness and deaths resulting from it.
I am grateful for your thoughts, Marie. Indeed. Now more than ever, making a conscious effort to encourage each other goes a long way.
Very good tips. In fact many people are mentally demotivated which includes me. Being a good friend at these times is so important.
It truly is essential to take time and check on those we hold dear. Thank you for taking the time read my post and sharing your thoughts, Kuntala. I hope you feel loved and comforted each day. Take care! ?
I think we can all take a lot from this! We’re so busy with our own lives, especially with everything going on at the minute, that we forget to check up on our friends.
I am glad this resonates with you, Hayley. Sometimes, just being there makes a lot of difference. Thanks for dropping by!
Listening is the key. We have to listen first and also give respect to your friend. Understand where they are coming from and just be there to support them.
Right on, Emman! Thank you for reading and sharing. Take care. ?
Great reminders! Perspective and looking out for others are so important! Having a positive attitude can get you through rainy days!
Absolutely! We are stronger when we are able to face challenges together. Thank you for adding your thoughts!
I don’t know about others but my friendships haven’t changed much because of the pandemic. I’ve always stayed in touch with friends and we touch base and chat online. the in-person visits are not there but we compensate through other means,
Becoming a best friend is definitely a cool idea. We are living in a real-time experiment in which suddenly we find ourselves engaging in ways we never have before…