Your job as a friend is to help sort out solutions, not to provide them with answers.
Too often we say: Gee, that's too bad; now, now, everything is going to be all right; don't cry; don't worry; hang in there. None of which will hurt anyone if all they want is sympathy.
But if you think the person really wants help, try this simple, easy-to-follow process.
Here are the questions:
• What do you want for you?
• What are you feeling?
• What are you doing to get what you want?
Some follow-up questions might be:
• Will you do it?
• When will you do it?
• How will you do it?
• Will you let me know how it goes?
Your role is to take this person seriously, treat him or her tenderly and listen.
Charlotte Lankard is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. Email her at email@example.com.