Being Supportive

I have spent much of my time being someone who listens to people. I also seem to be the person who understands both sides of someone’s story and happen to be able to see different perspectives at the same time. When people are in a crisis they often need someone to just listen to them, to understand. There is not an age prerequisite required to be supportive to those around you. Whether you are old or young, everyone you spend time with is going to need a listening ear at one time or another. Just realise that you are often not expected to fix things, or come up with the ‘right answer’.

A lot of the time, when you are around someone who is having a tough time other people will snap at them, or make it worse especially if they have their own problems and then everyone feels rubbish. It doesn’t have to be like this. Regardless of what is going on in our lives, we can still listen to and support others around us.

There have been many difficult situations I have had to navigate through the years, for myself and for others. One thing I realise is even if I have been in the exact same situation as someone else, it can only give me an insight as to where they are at. People react differently to a situation and there are always different personalties involved. Some aspects of a situation can be harder than others to cope with, and it is not the same for everyone. Never presume how things are. Just because I made it through something, doesn’t mean it won’t take someone else a lot longer.

Picking up on the little clues is sometimes the most helpful thing we can do for others. Not pushing things if someone is unwilling to be around people or big events. Making hot drinks is a bit of a cliché but doing something nice that is unasked for can do the world of good in the short term. People open up when they are ready, and sometimes the person they open up to will be you and sometimes it won’t be. You don’t need to know the details of a situation to support someone, and if someone else is helping, then that is a good thing.

The most important thing I can stress about supporting others is not ‘sharing’ information with others unless you have to, and if you do that the person is aware who you are talking to and why. Otherwise people can get hurt. It’s not a problem in general terms ‘they are having a tough time at the moment.’ but don’t share specifics.

I realise this is written from my own perspective of helping and supporting others, and I hope that people will grasp from it some of the basic interactions that can be helpful to people in their time of need.