Wonderful bunch of friends you have, and you admire every last one of them. Moreover, like a well-planned investor who has a large, diversified portfolio, you have all sorts of friends, ranging from the smart one to the quirky one. Talk about an assortment.
However, we all have that one friend who seems to be a magnet for bad decisions. When this friend of yours lands in hot water, he or she come running to you, seeking your support no matter how difficult the situation may be. We all have that one friend who makes an ill-informed decision subconsciously or otherwise. Chances are, you have been through this before; you struggled to figure out the best way to give your friend a helping hand despite his or her tendency to lean towards choices that turned out to be nothing but negatives.
If you have ever helped your troubled friends by having their backs as they plough through their own perilous journeys, you have my salute. I commend you for being such a lovely and supportive buddy. It is hard nowadays to find friends who are willing to stand by your side through thick and thin. Continue to be a good friend. However, do not be one of those friends who seems to encourage poor decision-making processes, leading to even more bad decisions.
That said, here are several key points that will aid you to become as good of a friend as possible without feeling as though you are violating your own boundaries.
1. Be a good and active listener.
If your friend is dashing towards you for support, most likely they trust you and want to gain your wisdom-filled opinions. At times, our buddies are not aware that they are in hot water. Avoid making impulsive comments or half-baked conclusions. Instead, paint a picture of their story as they describe their ordeals.
Take note of your body language and your facial expressions as well. Non-verbal communication can be as important, if not more important, than verbal communication. For example, was there ever a time when you were describing a tale to your friends, and they gave you all sorts of crazy-looking facial expressions. Fundamentally speaking, make your feel as if speaking out the truth is the right way, and there is no shame in doing so.
2. Unveil your feelings.
Your friend comes to you for your feedback. So, return the favour. If you have faith in your friend’s crazy rationale behind the decision he or she made, tell them. Do not silence yourself. If you do not support their decision wholeheartedly, tell them that too.
At times, we are blindsided by what we aim for that we might not be aware that we are trapped in an unhealthy situation. Likewise, your friend might not be conscious about the fact that the situation is doing more harm than good, and you may be the only one who can observe and understand the repercussions of being trapped in that situation for too long.
Be sincere. A friend’s role is to advise another of the best course of action that will better benefit that person the most. Have a chat with your friend and talk about it through a compassionate lens.
3. Do not just sit there and do nothing. Make your life useful by being a helper.
If you see that your friends are in dire need of help, even though they did not ask for help, you can be confident that they need help. So, respond swiftly to formulate a plan of action with your stricken friends. Although having said that, do not throw caution to the wind.
Common societal issues such as substance abuse, domestic violence, suicidal tendencies, and sexual harassment can be dealt with by tapping into resources made by the authorities. In this time and age, there are numerous hotlines that people can dial into to solve their problems or, at the very least, minimise the extent to which their troubles are giving them problems. If you are unable to help your friend, refer them to a professional who is better able to handle your friend’s situation than you.
4. Evaluate your perspective.
It is tempting to jump the gun and conclude that your friend is making a big mistake by going for a particular decision. However, hold your horses.
Approach and assess the situation objectively. Is your friend indeed coming to an ill-informed decision, or is there something within you that wants you to misbehave? Being truthful to yourself can also be another way of helping your friend.
Final 2¢: Don’t go too far.
Undoubtedly, your support means the world to your friends. However, you also have your own set of moral principles. No one will judge you for not helping your friend because doing otherwise means violating your own boundaries and beliefs.
Nevertheless, you can still be a supportive friend by being open-minded. You can still serve as your friends’ pillar of support without directing getting into the thick of it. Even though you strive to be a helpful pal, after considering and doing everything, you must do what is best for yourself too.