Dealing with a friend in distress can be difficult – especially if they’re unwilling to accept your help. This may be ignorant to the problem at hand or they may know that they need help but simply have too much pride to accept help. Either way, here is what you should do in order to give your friend the help they need.
Offer an ear
Not everyone wants advice. Some people may simply be in need of someone to vent their feelings to. If your friend is in a bad place, opt to meet up so that they can talk about their problems in detail – they may then be more open to advice and assistance afterwards. You may be assuming the source of their problem without letting your friend talk these problems out in detail to you.
Don’t pressure them too much
Whilst you may have good intentions by constantly hounding someone to get help, it could be having the opposite effect. Constantly express your worry for them, but don’t try to drag them to counselling appointments or control their lives. Try using more subtle ways of getting them help such as leaving them leaflets to counsellors or telling them stories of people in similar situations that didn’t get help. Sometimes, they may need you as a friend and not a counsellor. As a result, don’t make every meeting solely about trying to solve their problem – try to be a positive distraction by arranging days out or activities in which they can forget their problems.
Don’t back off too much either
Whilst you shouldn’t keep pressuring them, neither should you entirely back off. Those with a substance abuse problem will often isolate themselves, so you should make an effort to keep checking in on them. If they’re constantly refusing to meet up with you, don’t be afraid to go knocking at their door.
Get help yourself
It may be worth seeing a counsellor yourself to get advice on how to deal with them. This can be a good alternative if they are refusing to see a counsellor themselves. On a related note, the stress of trying to look after your friend may be taking its toll on your mental health. Don’t be afraid to get help yourself if you think this may be the case.
Know when things get serious
In some circumstances, you may believe that the person is in immediate danger, either to themselves or at the risk of someone else. In such instances, there is no time to try and persuade them to get their own help. If you believe someone else is endangering them, call the police. If you believe they are a danger to themselves, try calling up a hotline that may be able to solicit advice.
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