Small but Helpful Ways to Encourage Struggling Friends


Here’s Small but Helpful Ways to Encourage Struggling Friends

Social isolation has been difficult for most of us. We long to get out and see friends. We are ready to get back to normal. We miss social gatherings, casual coffees, and the freedom we used to have. But for some people, the restrictions of the pandemic have made the world smaller on top of a life already marked by pain and loss.

Many sufferers feel more alone than ever. Friends can’t come in and help as they normally would have. People are more tied up with their own families. Everyone is going on with their lives and it’s easy to feel forgotten and unimportant.

If you know someone who is struggling and are wondering how you can encourage them in this difficult season, here are three small but helpful things to do.

Text or call them.

Sometimes when I’m praying for someone, I text them. If it’s in the morning when I’m reading my Bible, I have taken a picture of what I’m reading and what I’m praying for them. Or I’ve written a verse out and added a few words of my own. Usually nothing fancy but, “I’m praying this for you. Praying God will meet you today.”

I know what it’s like to feel forgotten, so just knowing that someone is specifically praying has helped me move forward. I don’t expect a response from these texts, so I do not make them long or ask unnecessary questions. That way the person doesn’t feel the need to text back.

If your schedule permits, set up a time to talk to them. Having someone check in on the phone, over zoom or in person can mean a lot. Listen just to learn and not to fix.

Drop off or mail a small gift.

For me, getting a small gift often cheers me up. Unexpected little things have a way of brightening my day, though it doesn’t need to be anything big. If your friend lives close by, you could leave something outside their door or if it’s a nice day, sit outside with them. Some ideas are flowers from your garden or the store. Homemade or store-bought cookies. A cup of coffee. A candle. A book you’ve enjoyed.

If they don’t live nearby, mail a card. If you have the time and financial ability, consider sending a small gift or ordering something from Amazon or Etsy that can be delivered.

Provide a meal.

I’m a foodie, so someone dropping off a delicious meal is always welcome at my house. If you want to do that for friend, check on the best date and if they have food allergies or restrictions. If you don’t like to cook, or if you’re uncomfortable with your cooking skills, they might be more grateful for a gift card for food delivery services like GrubHub, Uber Eats or DoorDash. 😊 I often choose that since people can order whatever they want, on the most convenient day for them, and it will be delivered.

While we all want to be there for our friends, this past year has made it much more challenging. It’s easy to keep moving on with our own lives and families who need our attention. But little reminders that people care often mean more than you’d expect. It’s never too late to start. Even if their crisis has been ongoing and you haven’t checked in on them, don’t let guilt deter you. If the Lord brings them to mind as you read this, they are exactly who you need to contact.  

Don’t forget to pray for these friends. And as you are praying for their spiritual, physical and emotional needs, ask the Lord what you can do.

I wrote a short e-book as a gift for new subscribers with many more suggestions, so click here if you’d like to receive it.

I’d love to hear in the comments what you have done for others, or what they have done for you that has been helpful.

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