Dear Miss Milly,
I have a friend who I am worried about. Lately, she seems depressed, and I know she is going out and getting drunk more throughout the week. I am also afraid she might be hurting herself. I want to help her, but I am afraid that if I try to talk to her, she’ll blow me off. What should I do?
A Caring Friend
Dear A Caring Friend,
Too often, people don’t notice when the ones we care about are hurting or they are worried they might say or do the wrong thing.
If you want her to get better, talk to her. Let her know you are concerned. Take her out to lunch or schedule some quality one-on-one time. If she’s feeling isolated and alone, time with a friend may be exactly what she needs. It will show that you care and are making an effort to reach out and provide support.
Be cautious not to pry but be supportive. Focus on the big picture. What is she struggling with? Is she stressed with school or work? Is she having friend or family problems? If she doesn’t want to open up, don’t pressure her, but let her know you are there to support her.
Explore ways of resolving her issues, whether it’s more tutoring sessions for school help or forgiving and letting go of broken friendships.
If it’s something she feels only she can remedy, suggest having a girl’s lunch or coffee date once a week so she knows she has someone to turn to for advice or help. Sometimes just knowing you have someone to turn to is comfort enough.
Situations such as this require sensitivity and understanding. Always speak from out of love, not judgement. Don’t criticize her. If you are concerned about her drinking, let her know and offer advice on different ways to release her emotions and handle her stress. For instance, journaling, exercising or a vent session with friends.
No matter her reaction, keep supporting her, stay positive and let her know that you are there to help. Your kindness and caring will always make a difference.