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10 Tips for Helping a Hurting Person

Sadly, well-meaning people often feel awkward when dealing with a friend who is deeply hurting. And in their awkwardness, they grope for what to say and what to do. These ten tips can be a guide for you in these situations.

1. Listen. Help them talk about what happened and how they are feeling.

2. Notice the feelings they are having and talking about. Their feelings are more important than the facts.

3. Do not try to fix them.

4. Your body and face should look interested and attentive.

5. Repeat in words what you see and hear them to be feeling. Their emotions are most important. Saying it back to them validates that you are hearing them.

6. 'Name the elephant.' This means you speak of sensitive issues of which you are aware. You do not have to avoid sensitive subjects.

7. 'Check Your Story at the Door.' Avoid slipping into talking about your own experiences, some of which might be similar to theirs. When you do that, they may be politely listening to you, instead of you listening to them.

8. Pray personally. Focus on the crisis and the person's needs and hurts. Touch often is meaningful - hold the other person's hands.

9. Allow, accept, and encourage tears(your own as well as theirs). The Bible counsels us to "weep with those who weep."

10. Avoid 'pat answers'. See #3 above. Do not try to fix them.

And, most importantly: Trust the healing presence and love of Jesus. Healing will happen.


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