International Friendship Month: 15 ways to help a friend
February 8, 2024
Why is friendship so important?
True friendships bring a sense of belonging and acceptance, while reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation from the world. When times get tough, feeling like you are not alone makes tough times more manageable.
Positive encouragement from a friend can be just what we need to take that leap and face our fears. In times of uncertainty, friends can put things into perspective and dish out honest opinions, helping you weigh the pros and cons.
Friendships can increase our lifespans. Mayo Clinic studies prove that adults with meaningful relationships and social support are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.
Let’s not forget fun! True friends are your go-to for entertaining activities, or just to unwind and laugh with after a long day.
Acknowledge / Support / Keep In Touch
What does it take to be a good friend and maintain a solid friendship? It’s really simple.
Mental Health is Health says the key is to A.S.K. > Acknowledge, Support and Keep in Touch.
- A good friend first acknowledges feelings and gives their full attention, actively listening while showing they understand and believe you.
- When supporting a friend, being present is key. Ask questions to determine how you can help. Being up front and offering coping strategies will show you care and want to help.
- Keeping in touch involves check-ins with your friends to show that you’re invested for the long haul. Sending a text or making a call regularly shows you are a reliable friend.
Now, let’s put this into action. What exactly does true friendship sound like?
5 Phrases to Acknowledge
- “I understand where you are coming from.”
- “That sounds like it is very challenging.”
- “I see why you feel that way.”
- “I would feel the same if I was in this situation.”
- “This must have been really hard.”
5 Phrases to Support
- “How can I support you?”
- “Tell me more about that.”
- “What can I do to help?”
- “I am here for you.”
- “This is a no-judgment zone.”
5 Phrases to Keep in Touch
- “Thinking of you.”
- “Do you want to get together?”
- “How are you feeling today?”
- “Just saying hi. How’s it going?”
- “Just checking in.”
“A friend is someone who knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”
Let’s reflect on the value of this quote.
Someone who knows you as you are.
A friend who you can be yourself around, who accepts you, all of you, including your flaws.
Someone who understands where you have been.
A friend who has seen you at your best and worst and still chooses to stand beside you. Through ups and downs this friend never leaves.
Accepts what you have become.
A friend who has faith in all of you today, here in the present.
And still, gently allows you to grow.
You have your biggest cheerleader right there as you work toward achieving your goals and accomplishing new things.
What an amazing gift true friendship is!
It’s important to teach our children the value of friendship
Respectful Ways gives students an opportunity to learn the real-life benefits of healthy friendships.
Our Positive Problem Solvers Rock module for students in Grades 3-5 helps them make a positive shift. It gives students new ways to commit to friendships, solve inter-personal problems in a positive way, work with each other to solve conflicts, and be a team player.
So during International Friendship Month, and every month to follow, let’s clearly see the value of friendships, take time to express our gratitude for those true friends in our lives, and vow to be that good friend back. Remember… just A.S.K.
Respectful Ways offers trauma-informed social-emotional learning curriculum for four age groups: PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. Students engage with interactive, digital modules covering compassion, perseverance, respect and responsibility.