We all need a helping hand in our lives at some time or another. Most of us will rely on our partners and relatives, but it is important to nurture our friendships and to maintain a strong social network so that we can turn to our friends for support when we need it.
After all, there is that old saying ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed’!
Do you want to be there for your friends as often as you can? There are various ways you can offer them your help. I’m talking in general here about female friendships but of course many of us have close male friends who support us and, in turn, need our support.
Here are some very common situations in which they might get a bit stressed out. If you know that a close friend of yours is going through one of these, don’t be scared to ask them if they could do with a hand. I’m sure they will enthusiastically take you up on your offer!
There is nothing quite as stressful as welcoming a new baby into your home! Sure, it is a very happy time that is filled with joy, but it can be very difficult to deal with all the changes, especially for new mums.
If one of your friends has just had a new baby, you should let her know that you are there for her to help her out with anything she needs.
That might just be some words of wisdom or advice if you already have kids. But there might also be some practical stuff that you can help her with too.
You will no doubt know just how tiring living with a newborn can be, so one nice idea is to offer to look after the baby whenever she needs to take a well-earned nap.
If you have any old clothes or toys that your kids no longer use, you could consider passing them on to the newborn. Baby things are very expensive, and I’m sure your friend will really appreciate this thoughtful gift!
Once the newborn has grown up, there will be a big birthday bash to plan each year!
These are very easy to do when kids are young, as babies and toddlers won’t demand too much for their party. In fact, many parents simply organize a small gathering at home with close friends and relatives.
However, things can get very stressful once the child grows up and starts to make demands!
If you know a friend is struggling to plan their child’s party, you should offer to help them out. For instance, why not say that you will take care of the food?
You could also help with a variety of other small jobs. Offer to telephone a few different venues to see who can offer the best price, or help your friend post out all the invitations.
No matter how small the job is, I’m sure it will be a big help to your friend!
Another extremely stressful situation to go through is moving house.
There is a lot to organize and plan in order for moving day to go very smoothly, such as packing and hiring some movers.
If your friend is dreading their upcoming moving day, offer a helping hand to them. You could nip around to their house and help them pack up their final few things before the movers arrive.
Another great idea is to take care of their kids while they are packing and sorting things out. Having the kids around while your friend and her partner are trying to get on will only slow them down and cause them to get stressed out.
Taking them away for the day will certainly help your friend out.
It would also be a nice gesture to help them to organize a housewarming party. You could buy them a few gifts, like hampers with prosecco in them and send out invites to friends and family.
It doesn’t have to be a huge occasion; just a small gathering in their new home will be enough to help them celebrate!
No one wants to go through a difficult period at work.
If you think your friend is having trouble in their job, for whatever reason, you should offer them a shoulder to cry on or just be there ready to turn the kettle on whenever they need a strong cup of tea and a chat!
More often than not, just being there to talk through their problems with them will be enough to take a large load off their shoulders.
But there may sometimes be other ways you can help. For instance, if your friend ever needs a character reference, you should offer to write them one.
One reason why our jobs can become so stressful is because more and more people have to work longer hours. If this is the case for your friend, offer to pick up her kids from school occasionally and look after them until she or her partner can pick them up. That way, they don’t have to worry about expensive childcare or dash back for the school run.
Do you have a suspicion that your friend’s relationship is going through a rocky patch?
If so, invite them round for a brew or glass of wine and see if she will open up to you about things.
Simply talking through problems will be a great way to help her out. They do say that a problem shared is a problem halved, after all! You’ll find some great relationship advice on my problem pages.
However, if she doesn’t open up to you, then you shouldn’t force her to. I’m sure that she will in her own time.
If your friend is going through a divorce, all of this emotional support will be a great help. Divorce is often a rocky time for friendships, especially if friends start taking sides.
You should also try to organise as many nights out and catch-ups over coffee as possible so that you can take her mind off things.
Let her know that she can give you a call, no matter the time if she ever needs to have a chat with someone!
As you can see, there are plenty of ways you can be there for your friends!