Have you ever wanted to comfort a hurting friend but had no idea what to say or do?
Someone you know has suffered a loss or some other means to a broken heart. You want to help them but you fear making things worse.
So you stay away, or voice empty platitudes. You encourage your friend to “get up” before she’s ready to do so. But that’s not what she needs right now.
In her new book, I Wish I Could Take Away Your Pain, Brenda Seefeldt Amodea helps us navigate the deep waters of showing true compassion to someone who’s going through a difficult time.
Here are 5 ways the author tells us we can show up for our hurting friend.
1. Show up even when you don’t know what to say.
It’s okay to not have the answers. In fact, all you have to do is acknowledge the pain of your hurting friend. That is enough.
2. Be a trustworthy friend.
Keep what she tells you in confidence. Unless of course she’s in physical danger.
3. Keep healthy boundaries.
Know your limits and honor them. If you overextend yourself, you’ll only harbor resentment toward your hurting friend. That’s not fair to either of you.
4. Don’t say “at least”.
As Brene Brown says, “Rarely does an empathic response begin with ‘at least’.” Brenda writes in her book, at least means, “you are removing yourself from my pain.”
5. Don’t make it about you.
This is not the time to share your own sorrows. That is not connecting, but piling an extra burden on your friend that she’s not equipped to carry right now.
How to help a hurting friend
At 28 pages, the book is easy to digest. And it’s filled with cute illustrations that guide you through the prose.
Brenda offers prayerful and practical advice to help you be there for your hurting friend in the way she needs. She comes alongside you like a friend and mentor with an arm around you.
The 5 tips I’ve listed here are only a small snippet of the many ways you’ll learn how to support your hurting friend with this wonderful book.
I Wish I Could Take Away Your Pain: How to be That Compassionate Friend is available now and makes a great gift for yourself or someone you know.