In the Media – How to Be a Supportive Friend in Time of Need (Family Circle)

Published: June 28, 2013 | Last Updated: June 28, 2013 By | Reply Continue Reading
How to Be a Supportive Friend

How to Be a Supportive Friend

June 2013

by Sarah Mahoney

In this excellent article in Family Circle, writer Sarah Mahoney offers advice on how to be a supportive friend.

By the time her daughter landed in drug rehab at age 16, Leslie Cheney had grown used to all kinds of reactions to her wild child from family and friends, teachers and neighbors. But she wasn’t ready for how differently people treated her. Suddenly she was confronted with unwanted counsel (“She needs more discipline”) and Pollyanna predictions (“It’s just a phase — it’ll pass before you know it”). On one level, Leslie, a mother of four in Fairfield, Connecticut, understood.

“It was pretty clear that people didn’t really know what to say or do,” she says. “And instead of asking me how they could help, they offered advice that didn’t help at all.” But Leslie found little comfort giving others the benefit of the doubt. In addition to being terrified for her daughter, she also felt cut off and alone at a time when she most needed support…

…It’s natural for a parent whose child is in distress to pull away from friends, even close ones. “It may seem like she’s backing off your relationship or being secretive, but she could simply be embarrassed and ashamed,” says Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., a friendship researcher at New York University. The other possibility is that she’s trying to guard her privacy. “No one wants word of their family’s problems to spread like wildfire,” says Levine. “The last thing she wants to worry about is gossip.” As a friend, it’s up to you to recognize and respect those feelings. If she doesn’t return your calls, leave a few messages saying you are thinking of her and are there for her. It will be appreciated…


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Category: IN THE MEDIA

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