Information Centre

How to be there for a friend

Friends Support from family and friends

Friendships are among the most important relationships you’ll have in your life. Many of your favourite memories probably include times you’ve spent with friends.

But having friends can be hard work sometimes, when they get on your nerves or when they’re going through a tough time.Not knowing what to do or say to help can be frustrating but doing your best to make them feel better shows you care about being a good friend.

How can I be there?

Listen – try to understand the situation from your friend’s point of view.

Advice – Don’t assume your friend wants advice because sometimes all they need is someone to listen. If you feel out of your depth, advise them to talk to a professional, and support them.

Get the facts – if your friend has been diagnosed with a medical condition or mental illness, learning about their condition is a good way of showing your support.

Protect them from themselves – if you think a friend is taking serious risks, you may need to act without their consent to get them help. Just remember it’s because you care about them. You may want to talk to someone you trust or a professional.

Show you care – if your friend is going through a tough time, write them a letter showing how special they are to you. Remind them that you’ll be there for them.

Keep in touch – if you can’t physically be with your friend when they need you, call or text them.

Don’t forget yourself – supporting a friend through tough periods can put pressure on you. Try to practice self-care and it can help to talk to someone you trust or maybe a professional.

Know your limitations – there’s only so much you can do for a friend. You might need to encourage your friend to seek professional help.

If you would like professional support with anything you are going through turn2me provides free, confidential online supports for young people and adults in the Republic of Ireland.

  • Peer support – A free and safe space where you can find and give support by connecting with other people who have been through similar experiences.
  • Group support -Facilitated by a mental health professional, support groups are a safe space to connect with others and share solutions and coping strategies on a variety of mental health topics.
  • Counselling – Support for whatever you are going through, this is a safe space to talk with a professional counsellor to help you understand your feelings and work together to develop the tools you need to get through tough times.