A Friend in Need Is a Friend Indeed.

About: A Northern Ireland based maker with a propensity to cause trouble and freshly constructed family.

This is a follow up to the Coping with it instructable and is aimed to help people help their friends get through tough times, again for the bereavement section there will be a video from our video project which is originally aimed at teachers and counsellors etc. but applies to friends aswell, that'll be added asap.

Having a friend can be one of the few things that brings people out of the hell or hole they may be in, I'm going to try and lay this out in a manner similar to the coping with it instructable to make things abit simpler.

Step 1: Making Their Day Better.

Yep, make it better, if you're depressed no day is a good day.

So where do you start? Well coming over to theirs and inviting them out are both good starts, good fun physical activities are a sensible idea, especially ones that they enjoy, if you read coping with it, you'll remember that physical activity is very good for depression and the depressed, it'll also get the two of you to bed at the right time and help keep you fit and healthy.

You might want to eat at some point, a bit of good ole comfort food is a great idea, if they don't want to play ball (figuratively and literally) doing things like dropping by with their favourite sweet or sandwich is always good, you're not going for being all charitable and feeling sorry for them, it's all about a smile.

Even just giving them a call and having a chat with them, a normal chat, not a 'how are you I heard...' chat and if they start to talk about it, listen, that's all just listen.

Get some chill time with them, take a walk about and just walk in silence , if they want to talk it'll come out, this one is a nice time for friends to just chill aswell so take the oppurtunity yourself.

Step 2: Getting Down to It.

At this point I may hasten to add that being family or spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend/partner here is not helpful, some of these things might help but really a friend is best sometimes, don't take it personally. Being of the opposite sex isn't much trouble, just not currently romantically involved (past entanglements are fine) just so long as you're focusing on your friend and friendship.

Let's kick off with some respect, it's of great importance. Being a good friend doesn't mean wrapping them up in cotton wool, nor does it mean feeling sorry for them, by all means feel bad for them, just not sorry. Alot of the time when you're in a rut or your life's become hell, you already feel sorry for yourself or you're just mad, having others feel sorry doesn't feel good especially a friend. So even If you are feeling sorry for them try not to show it.

At the same time you do have to show sensitivity towards them, this doesn't mean petting them every three seconds or asking if they want a hug, give them a hug when they need one not in case they do. Don't walk tiptoe around the problem subject, just think about what you say to them first. Understand that you're there for them, not for yourself.

I know that this bit is mostly don'ts but look at it more as a guidance towards what you should do and things you should avoid are there to help send you in the right direction.

Step 3: What Else?

Your friend can be comforted alot by you being their friend, talk about fun you've had, 'hey remember when...' that sort of thing, thinking about good times is important it's a reminder about the fact that things will get better.

Don't allow yourself to start going down the 'I know how you feel' path, everyone experiences things differently, saying 'I've been there' is a better way to say that you've had similar experiences, if things are really bad for your friend then they won't feel like anyone else has felt or can feel the same way, hence the 'alone feelings' depression can cause. If you don't know what they're going through it can be alot better to say 'that sucks' (that one helps alot after a hundred I'm sorry's). Another point there in fact. Saying I'm sorry is either implying that the problem is some fault of your own or that you feel sorry for them, that's a bad thing.

If you're not sure how to help, ask them how you can, it seems like a strange thing to do as the one helping but makes a point that you want to help and will bring on some useful suggestions and usually a couple of dark jokes.

When things start opening up make sure everything gets out in the open, it'll help them by getting it off their chest and it'll help you help them by giving an idea of what's actually going on. Try not to interrupt them and at the end giving a few seconds then asking something like 'anything else?' with a bit of humour could throw out that all important 'Oh and...'

Well we've got a good few general tips down, I'm now going to move on to the more specific stuff, ie: what's actually getting them down and it goes:
*Opposite sex trouble... (or partners).
*Friends trouble.
*Work/school trouble.

Step 4: Opposite Sex Trouble! (or Partners...).

Well if they've been through a rough patch with their partner or they've broken up for a start [https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-talk-to-an-ex.../ this] may be of some use, another one of the 'fun' things I've written about here...

So what do you do once they say what's happened?

Well it all depends, if the girl/boy/fish was bad for them then may be it's for the best and as a friend knowing when this is is a good thing, but what are you going to say about this?

You could go along the route of having a joke about it, just don't cross the line, remember that boy/girl/fish went out with them and therefore will hold some respect in your friend's mind. Again explaining that the friend was better than that would be a good idea, but you'll need to back that up with good reasoning or they might throw the head up at you, yes being of the opposite sex is good here as it leaves you open to say more, unless you're a fish. Generally in the case where it's for the best honesty is a good policy, in certain doses, for example you may be better of saying 'To be honest she wasn't all that good to you' may be better than saying 'To be honest I thought she was a loony cow'. If you don't see the differences there then it's time to get help, unless you're just a mesoginist, in which case change them shes to hes.

So what if they were happy and good for one another (note the and, I've been in both the or's and they're no good really). Referring to [https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-talk-to-an-ex.../ How to talk to an ex] again may help, I do speak about how to be reasonable with them. If this is the case it's a good idea to focus on an 'action plan' so to speak, how can your friend get the he/she/fish in question to come round to them again, try and help figure out what happened in the first place, if someone cheated then expect this to be hard... Anyway get them away from 'oh god I can't live without him/her/my fish' and towards, 'I'm going to win him.her/fred back!' Not in a psycho stalker way but in a real world, I'm going to get this right way.

What do you do if they're bummed about someone they really like rejecting them, I've added this one because I see and hear alot of people having this problem, it's a bit trivial on the grand scale of things but to some it's the end of the world as they know it. Mostly, you have to see whether or not it's worth pursuing for them, if it's not (80% of the time) then you need to get them to see that there's better out there and that obsessing about one person is bad for them, this in itself can be nigh on impossible, you'll hear a million 'but I love them's before you hear the all important 'maybe you're right', it will come sometimes it takes you to say the same thing in a million different ways, sometimes you need only say it once, either way they will eventually come back to earth.

So anymore on this? If I missed chunks or anything big tell me in a comment, i need to know these things...

Now on we go to friends...

If you don't understand the image read the note, it's not wierd i had to do some googling and this came up at random...

Step 5: Friends Having Friend Trouble?

Well waht if your friend is is feeling lost because they think they have no friends or have lost some friends, maybe they've had a big fight with a good friend.

In any of these eventualities it's good to remind them that you're a friend. Try your best to help them deal with it, most of the time thses issues can be resolved, though if they're not do help your friend see that it's not the end of the world, they will in time make new friends etc.

Alot of the problems with these things revolve around the ugly fact that most of the time trouble between friends gets blown way out of proportion, being good friends means that the feelings run deep but unlike family the need to resolve them isn't as great so things can go a bit too far pretty fast.

If it's something trivial then show them this fact, at some point both of the arguing friends will have to swallow their pride, eventually...

Trying to bring the friend into reason about the fight/arguement/upset can be hard, alot of the time when friends fight both sides feel very hurt and betrayed, friends can be judge jury and executioner on alot of things, confidence, trust etc. Really being there and bringing them round to where they see things as they are is one of the best things you can do.

Though I help alot of friends with this kind of thing it varies so much I can only be pretty general.

So work ethics anyone?

Step 6: So They're Bummed About Work or School...

Sometimes people get a heap of hot steaming manure land on them at once in school or work and that can mess with them badly, or they could realise what they're doing isn't at all something they want to do.

If they feel like they're going nowhere in their job maybe it's time for them to get a new one, again you'll get a plethora of arguments about how they're not good at anything or they would just have to do the same thing, oki sometimes the same thing is better at a different company, again Encouragement to start looking and planning what they'd like to do is a great start, if they need to do a couple of courses maybe they should, especcialy if a pay rise or less working hours for the same money is involved.

In school you may suddenly be hit with a tonne of exams, coursework and homework at once, this is enough to bum anybody out, really you need to help them work their way through and sometimes you have to cut the wheat from the chaff, if they're dropping a subject or doing pointless homeworks show them that it's better to focus on important stuff, help them make an action plan if they need or want one, If there are any subjects you could help with then it might be nice of you to do so...

Basically here the plan is to keep their spirits up and help them get through that hot steamy pile of manure that fell on them, even if it's as thick as s***e...

Step 7: Bereavement.

That big bad word, grief, bereavement, loss. It happen to everyone at some point.

There will be a helpful video coming soon for this step as I was part of a project for helping teachers and counsellours etc. deal with bereaved teenagers. If you feel the need to to know the back story to all of this it's here in the last step of coping with it.

I think one of the biggest porblems with helping someone deal with the loss of someone close is that alot of people feel the subject is a bit unnapproachable, they tiptoe around it in a mostly ungraceful manner, hence the elephant in the room... People should know that it can be spoken about and if the person isn't in the mood for speaking then let them drop it.

Another big annoyance to people who have lost someone are the expectations involved, putting stuff on someone especially someone young is a bad thing to do. Also putting words in the lost one's mouth is not the best idea. Don't make out like the person never existed that's a bad idea aswell. On those points here are some phrases to avoid and alternatives.

'Your dad would be proud' - putting words in mouths - 'I think your dad would be pretty proud of you'
'You're the man of the house now' - Awful thing to say - i can't think of anything to say that's not just as annoying to hear
'You're an only child now' - Wrong wrong wrong - They're not an only child they still had a sibling!
'I know how you feel my cat died yesterday - if you think this is empathising you're probably incapable of turning a doorknob the right way. In fact you don't know how they feel as everyone reacts so differently.

You really need to stop and think about what you say.

Listen to them and if they start talking about them just let them.

If there's a silence and it feels right remind them of a good time like 'remember when your shot me and you with your bb gun'. helping them remember the person and letting them share the memories good an bad is very important, Holding on to them to yourself is not a healthy or logical thing to do.

Don't be overly touchy feely with them, unless they want you to be, it gets annoying enough when randomers come up and start petting you.

I hipe to get the video up soon, as it's far better at explaining this in a sometimes highly comical way, however it might be worth taking a run through coping with it and relaying some tips to them in a different way to help them out.

Step 8: A Final Finale of Notes for the Final Few Who Finally Got to Here.

Well I hope this instructable has been helpful and i'd really like to hear any suggestions to be added to this, i've listed a few other instructables as reading material to help with all of this.

Coping with it. - An instructable I wrote about dealing with hard times yourself
[https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-talk-to-an-ex.../ How to talk to an ex] - yet another one of my cheery creations, self explanatory, i hope.
how to survive teenage life and stress - Whatsisface wrote this, another helpful instructable
How to calm down, reduce stress and enjoy life - thatkidwithayoyo is responsible for this
How to relax - two simple breathing excercises Kiteman discusses relaxation through breathing techniques here

Hopefully these help a bit too.

Thanks for reading - killerjackalope.



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    44 Discussions


    11 years ago on Introduction

    this reminded me of a saying: a friend in need is a friend indeed But the best friends are the friends with weed. But seriously DON'T DO DRUGS

    4 replies

    That's not a saying it's a line in a song called pure morning, by placebo I think, can't remember too well, I have no idea why I iknow this fact as I'm not a big fan... Been there done that, got high and ate the T-shirt, came back a bit bored.

    Smoking? Beer? Weed?... I'm speechless :( How can someone so smart get into that (and I only assume that your smart since you can work a windows computer without throwing it out the window :P)


    9 years ago on Step 8

    Thankyou for this incredibly helpful and insightful Instructable!
    The notes about tact and knowing what to say are so useful and well put across.  It takes guts to be so blunt and informal about these sensitive issues. Looking at your other 'Ibles, the whole Instructable community is in debt to you.

    Again I say Thank you!

    1 reply

    I heard that difference between a friend and a good friend is that a friend will help you move but a good friend will help you move a body.

    1 reply

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Great instructable! Most of these are very true. Off topic, but I couldn't resist: "I'm not a misogynist, I just like it when girls are massaging this" -Immortal Technique

    10 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    It is! This doesn't have much hidden meaning, but most of their songs do. I love how he can combine real hip-hop with lyrics that expose so many lies and conspiracies. Immortal technique is the only rap I ever listen to.

    Eh, I have no problem with women doing man stuff, so long as the scales are equal not inverted, still I love arguing with feminists and the like, lesbians are fun to argue with too.