How to help loved ones overcome tough times |

How to help loved ones overcome tough times

Giving support to a friend or family membeer in need couldbe awkward for many.

Whether self-induced or unavoidable, there are a host of pitfalls that life can throw one’s way, and everyone faces a crisis at some point in his or her life. When it happens to a friend or family member, knowing how to be supportive can be difficult.

“One of the grandest gifts we can extend to friends and family who are in trouble is the gift of our time,” says Beth Wiseman, author of the new novel “The Promise,” based on a friend’s experience being held captive in Pakistan.

Wiseman, who worked with government agencies to help extract her friend from a dangerous situation and then supported her upon her return to the States, is offering tips to anyone looking for ways of being helpful to someone going through a tough time.

• Be present: When one is at the center of a crisis, it’s often hard to see the light for all of the darkness. Friends and family can help that person see past the “now” of a situation toward what the future can bring.

You can be a source of positive encouragement and a reminder that things won’t always be this way. Your troubled friend may simply need a sounding board. Identify in what capacity you can be helpful and then fulfill that role.

• Give your time: So often, our time is limited and precious, which makes it worth more than monetary offerings. Perhaps that is cooking a meal, running errands on his or behalf, or babysitting. These favors can give someone a chance to just “be.”

• Don’t say “I told you so:” No one needs to hear advice on how he could have avoided a bad situation after the fact, particularly when he is suffering. You don’t need to agree with someone’s decisions or actions to find ways of being supportive. So skip the “I told you so.”

• Be patient: Often times, when people are going through a rough patch, they may need space more than help. Approach the situation delicately and thoughtfully so you are not adding to his or her stress.

• Have perspective: In the thick of it, don’t forget that trauma can be life changing and often has a silver lining. We are stronger than we think.

“It’s how we react, endure, and survive that will mold our future, not the actual event itself,” says Wiseman.

For more information about Wiseman’s new novel, “The Promise,” and the author, visit

Being more than just a fair weather friend is not always easy, but it’s important. The next time a loved one is in need, tread lightly to discover the best way you can help him or her through it.