A lighthouse. It’s what you look for when heading back to land. When I see a lighthouse, I think of those big ships in stormy weather. The crew is looking for that lighthouse to know they’re close to land. It’s not like they didn’t expect bad weather, they just want to go back home.
Have you ever had a friend that was so lost with their misery that you couldn’t do anything to help them? No matter how much you try to talk to them, nothing seems to happen. You should know by now that agreeing with them doesn’t do much but reinforce their current feelings. Sorta like encouraging them to keep being lost.
There are three main things that you may want to give more focus to. The environment, the conversation and your own feelings. If your friend is being difficult then consider that variable useless. Pushing them to change isn’t working. Focus on the other variables that you can impact.
Create a different environment for him/her. Taking them out of their current environment is necessary for them to acknowledge new surroundings. Rather than having them reach out to you when the shit hits the fan; reach out to them. Changing just this perception should do more than half the work for your friend.
- Example: Plan to go out to eat (without bringing up the pity party)
- Example: Surprise them at their house for a board game
- Example: Invite them out to go hiking with a mutual friend
The environment is everything that surrounds you. Your stimulation is just as important to you as it is to your friend. So pick somewhere that’s comfortable for everyone. Some people find comfort in the silence of a library. Others prefer the social atmosphere of a restaurant or bar. To each his own, just go somewhere where yall will have fun.
Yes, your friend will bring the storm with them. It’s better to let them experience this fall than it is to take it away from them. They will need those feelings to know the difference between sadness and happiness. We all grow stronger through our experiences.
Your friend will express their feelings. Whether it’s through body language, conversation, etc. you will get some feedback from them. Don’t give in by easily agreeing with their reason for sadness. Have you seen what happens to people that get whatever they want? They become dependent on the feeding frenzy.
Mitigate unpleasant conversation. Your friend is having trouble creating the happiness they need to live life comfortably. Continuing to give your rope in a battle of tug-o-war will be a loosing battle. So you create for them. If they bring up the sadness, acknowledge it. You don’t want them to feel alone. But don’t encourage the opposite of what you’re trying to do.
- Example: If they refuse to go out. Toy with them a little bit. REALLY get them to acknowledge they’re refusing fun.
- Example: If they’re drowning the conversation. Suddenly stop and play a game of I spy (any game). Winner gets a tackle hug.
- Example: If they made plans but try to cancel. Go get their ass. Don’t forget the guest of honor! If they refuse, threaten to bring everyone to them.
Misery loves company. That’s just as much of a bad thing as it is a good thing. So many opportunities to give a good rise to someone’s day. But then there’s your own environment to consider. It all depends on how strong you are with your own feelings.
Your conversation shouldn’t be a battle between good vs evil. Because that’s you acknowledging that there is evil (your friend), which could be a step in the wrong direction when it comes to helping them. It all depends on who they are. You’ll know best. The main idea is to provide them with experiences they will enjoy.
Ensure that YOU are having fun. Your friend is grasping for happiness wherever they can find it. Be the lighthouse. If your friend cannot create the feelings they want, then provide the good feelings they seek. This part is about YOU, not them. Affe sehen, Affe tun.
- Example: If you’re not having fun or seem bored, they definitely aren’t having fun. Don’t save them, show them.
- Example: If you ARE having fun but your friend isn’t, bring them whatever you’re using to create your happiness.
- Example: Not everybody can be saved by 1 event, or even 1 person. Just make sure you lead by example.
Sometimes it takes more effort than you’re prepared for when it comes to comforting a friend. The best thing you can do is be the lighthouse, have a good time yourself. Your friend will come around when their ready. It’s more like a waiting game than it is an emotional makeover.
Provide the good time. Help create remarkable memories. These are the things your friend will want when feeling down. What would you want?