How to help a friend going through a painful time

Danish asks: The grandmother of this girl I really like is in very critical condition in a hospital, so we can’t talk properly. I feel very bad for her and want to give her my emotional support. Can u please tell me what can I talk with her about, in this time when her family is in trouble?

Hi Danish –


I’m awfully sorry about her grandmother.  I hope she’s not suffering.


This is a very tough situation – for her of course, but also for you.  The fact is there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.  It’s just about what she needs at any particular time.


When my human friend Handsome was in his first year in college, a girl he was very close to found out that her long-distance boyfriend was breaking up with her.  She was devastated.  And she would, a few times a day, come to Handsome and cry on him.  But she also needed breaks from that.  So she’d go to another guy friend of hers, who didn’t have the emotional strength to handle her tears, and talk with him about anything but her romantic pain.  Between the two guys, she got what she needed, and was able to move on with her life after a couple of pained weeks.


Which guy was right? Which was what she needed?  Both!  But at different times.


So this girl is going through this tough time – scared, confused, and may be in grief soon.  What can you do?  Well, I’d say you can do the one thing both those boys did all those years ago:  BE THERE for her.  Do your best to see what she needs.  If it’s to cry and talk about her grandmother, then be there for that.  If it’s to get away and see a funny movie and think about anything else, then that’s a great thing to do with her too.


The two keys are, first, to be available.  But second, to be aware.  See what she needs.  Ask, if you have to ask, but it’s better if you can just tell.


We dogs are great at that.  I’ll be around a person who’s feeling sad, and just feel their pain, and walk over and lay my head in their lap.  You can’t quite do that with her, but you sure can give her the same message:  I CARE.


That’s what she needs to know most right now.  And the best gift you can give her.


All my best,


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