Being supportive might have been something you thought you were doing well for your spouse, your child or friend. Add more care to your supportive role using these methods:

  1. Focus on their strengths
    They are perfectly aware of their short-falls and the problems they are facing. It is best to highlight the good parts of themselves that may not be putting focus on. i.e. “You are such a strong person. I have seen you overcome difficult problems like this before (list off). That is why I know you will find a solution for this one.”
  2. Offer practical help
    Avoid listing off all the things you think they should be doing to help solve the problem. Chances are, they have gone through that list already and repeating it just makes them feel stupid. If you are going to offer your help, avoid making it general “I’m here if you need me”. They do need you, that is why they are venting or asking for advice. It just isn’t obvious to them how to specifically ask for what they need.If you can offer help by removing other stressors or tasks from their life so they are able to focus on their problem, that would be a huge help! I.e. “I can come down and help around the house so that it can give you time to focus”. “I thought I would drop by with some groceries, I know how focused you are on this other task”.  “I would like to drop by and be there for you, maybe we can brainstorm together or you can assign me some tasks to help.”3. Follow up
    Being consistently in contact with someone who needs support is ideal. They like the reminder someone cares about them and is encouraging them to stay motivated and on task. Avoid asking questions about their problems. If they are focused on it, they will update you when there has been positive or productive change. Asking them about something they are not forthcoming about will only draw up negative emotions and thoughts.

    4. Inspire and educate yourself
    If you are unfamiliar about the issue they need support with, educate yourself. By taking initiative to learn what they are dealing with, you can then learn to relate to and be tactical about your actions. They will appreciate your support in that capacity.

    5. Be there in person
    We are human and thrive on community, physical and emotional connections with one another. Now that the digital age is here, we are severely lacking in personal connections with one another. Simply your positive presence in that persons life will be of some benefit to them. If you are unable to relate to any of the above techniques, simply being silent and present for this person is ideal to supporting them. Words have strong meaning but actions speak louder.