WHAT TO DO (and not do) when a friend is hurting


Eternal Truth:

Ever find yourself at a loss for words when you encounter a friend who is hurting? You often don’t know what to say — and what not to say.

Here are some suggestions from Focus on the Family’s counseling team 

to help you reach out with genuine help to someone in pain.


DON’T serve up platitudes:   If your friend just suffered a miscarriage, 

even well-meaning phrases like, “It wasn’t meant to be” can be extremely hurtful. 


DON’T turn someone’s problem into your story:   When you learn of someone’s pain, it’s human nature to want to share “what happened to me one time.” Don’t. Keep the focus on your friend.


DON’T be quick to say you understand:   You might have experienced a similar loss or setback, but your friend’s circumstance is different. Listening shows you want to understand.


DO acknowledge the pain:    Always reach out and empathize. Saying, “You must really be hurting” is a good way to break the ice and communicate that you care.


DO offer a hand:    Although you can’t solve every problem, your offer of assistance will be appreciated. Go ahead and ask, “Is there anything I can do to help?”


DO be honest:   It’s OK to admit, “I wish I knew the answer to your problem, but I just don’t.” In the end, simply listening may be the biggest help.   Above all, pray with and for your friend. Ask Jesus to help. He’s a friend too — a friend who sticks closer than any brother.


Phone: 651.379.0444                        www.counselingcare.us           Phone: 952.892.8495