Helping A Friend

How To Help A Friend

Friends often share their problems with each other. But sometimes it’s hard to know how to help a friend — especially if they have a big problem.

Ways To Help Friends

  • Listen and try not to interrupt
  • Remember that it may be difficult for your friend to talk
  • Try not to judge your friend or their behaviour
  •  Treat your friend the way you would like to be treated if you had a problem
  • Share your thoughts and ideas with your friend without telling them what to do
  • Ask them how you can help

Some problems are more serious than others — if your friend is in trouble or in danger it is important to tell an adult so your friend can get help. This is especially important if your friend is talking about suicide.

It’s also very important to seek help from an adult about:

  • self-injury
  • eating disorders
  • drug and alcohol problems
  • violence

Have you read our article on how to stop self-harm?

If your friend has a serious problem they may not want you to tell anyone. This can put you in a difficult position – you don’t want to let your friend down, but you know you can’t solve their problem on your own.

Never promise that you won’t tell an adult if your friend has a serious problem. Even if they might be angry or upset with you, it’s more important that your friend gets the help they need. It is important for your friend’s safety that you tell someone who can help. Telling an adult will also help you feel less responsible for solving the problem. Try talking to a teacher, a parent or call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.

If possible, be honest — tell your friend that you had to ask for an adult’s help because you were worried and couldn’t help him or her on your own. Once your friend starts to get help they may understand that you told an adult because you care.

Sometimes it can feel really overwhelming to listen to your friend’s problems.

When Listening To A Friend You may feel:

  • upset
  • confused
  • unsure about how to help

You may want to tell your friend that their problem is too big for you to help with and suggest they talk to an adult or a professional counsellor like the ones at Kids Help Phone. You may also want to talk to someone you trust about how your friend’s problem is affecting you.