How to show up for a friend, even when you can’t be there in person:
1 Start by reminding yourself that it’s not about you and what you want NOW — or would even want if you were in their shoes.
2 Call and leave a message reminding them you are there for them and this isn’t a call that needs to be returned. (Like, ever…)
3 If they need money and you’re able to give, even just a little bit, send cash. Again, remind them it doesn’t need to be returned. If you’re not comfortable doing that, buy them a gas or grocery card.
4 DO NOT offer advice unless they ask for it. Likewise, don’t remind them that they must “think positively”, that “everything happens for a reason” or “something good will come out of this”—unless you are utterly fucking clairvoyant and can 100% assure this is true.
Fact is, some things just suck really hard and have no meaning whatsoever.
5 If they’re sad, let them be sad. Be there, even if you’re a silent, supportive presence. Abandon the thought that everyone, including them, is better off happier. If their sadness offends you or makes you uncomfortable and you are a grown-ass adult, find a qualified therapist straight away.
6 Acknowledge what they’re going through, but don’t push or pry. READ THE ROOM. Be sensitive. Put your empathy to its best use.
7 If they need resources, do your best to find them. If you can’t, then offer what you do have. If you don’t want to offer anything at all, don’t expect this person to help you when you’re in the trenches, because you likely will be some day.
8 Check in on them. Texting makes this easy. Social media makes it easier. Emojis makes this mindless. (So there are no excuses.)
9 If you ask “how can I help?” and they don’t have an answer, that’s the moment your caring self gets creative. Think of ways you’re able to help that you know they’ll appreciate.
10 Practice these easy phrases: “Sorry…”, “Condolences…” and, when in doubt, “❤️”.