The last year has been a whirlwind of highs and lows but as restrictions ease more we have the opportunity to reconnect with friends we may have not seen in a very long time. In this post, I will be giving tips for helping and supporting your friends whether you can see them in person or only connect online.
Make sure your friends know you are willing to help
When feeling down or stressed it can be hard to reach out for help. Ensuring your friends know that you are there for them is a great start. This could be as simple as sending them a message or going for a catch-up and letting them know there. Having this support will benefit you both in times of need.
A problem shared is a problem halved
This is a very old saying but it still holds true today! In fact, research has shown that 70% of adults who share their worries with their friends found improvements by feeling relief, being happier or the problem going away entirely.
Friendships become strong when you support each other and work together to overcome challenges that you may face. Listening to your friends, being there for them, and being supportive during times of need is so important for them but also for you too as you will be able to go to them for the same. Having this extra layer of support means you never need to face anything alone.
Have regular check-ins
You may be thinking, “Owen, it’s all well and good that I should share my struggles, but what if I never get to see them?” It’s important to remember that there is never a bad time to tell a friend if you are in need of serious help, even if it means ringing a friend you haven’t spoken to in months.
Having regular check-ins will allow you to reconnect, catch up and share how you are feeling on an honest level. These don’t need to be scheduled, spontaneous chats and calls work better for some but if you are drowning in university work then arranging a catch-up beforehand might work better for you.
Create a list of people you would like to reconnect with
University can be a really busy time, especially around assignment deadlines so it can be hard to stay in touch with friends and family back home. Creating a list of people you would like to connect with will allow you to focus on uni work without forgetting about those friends back home. You can work your way through the list throughout the year but the holidays are a great time to go through and message/ reach out to everyone.
How are you really?
We have all been guilty of the “Okay thanks, you?” when someone asks how you are, but it is important to have an honest conversation with your friends. Realistically, if you tell those close to you that you aren’t really okay, they will want to support you and help you out. If you can sense that your friends are not okay and they say they are gently checking and reminding them they can tell you anything is a great way to be supportive and show that you are always there if they need to talk.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you have found it useful and that it helps you to support your friends. Let us know any tips you have for supporting your friends on our social media pages @UoLStudentLife!