How to Help Your Friends & Loved Ones (without losing yourself)

I’m sure you’ve all experienced “help” from your loved ones. Well meaning advice that starts with “What you need to do is……” or the pleading words from parents, “Honey, I’m worried about you….”

Working TogetherIt can be really hard to watch our child, our friend or a loved one suffering unnecessarily. Often, we can see things they can’t see but when we try to offer a new perspective, we get shut down. “If you just changed your attitude, your job wouldn’t be so bad.” “Just because your friend didn’t text you back doesn’t mean she hates you.” There are three ways people “help” that just don’t work.

  1. “Let me tell you what to do.” If you’ll just step aside, I can take over and do a much better job at managing your life than you are. This may be true but it’s not your lesson to learn and this type of “help” leaves both parties feeling frustrated and ignored.
  2. “I feel bad for you.” I’ll jump into suffering with you in hopes it will eliminate and relieve your burden. I will feel sad & scared in solidarity with you so at least you aren’t alone.   As well meaning as this is, this version leaves both parties feeling crappy and unable to see solutions.
  3. I’m worried about you so if you could worry too, I’ll feel better. This version of “helping” is common for parents to do to kids but it’s really about helping “the worrier” feeling more comfortable. Asking someone else to change their behavior so you can feel better, ignores the real problem and real solution.

Learning to help your friends and loved ones in a way that TRULY helps is an art form. If you’ve got “The Helping Tic” like I do, seeing people struggle causes you physical pain and mental anguish. The desire to help others is a good and important trait so learning to do it in a way that helps you BOTH feel better is SO important!

This “How to Help” workshop is right for you if ……

  • Your friends confide in you about their problems.
  • You find yourself thinking more about other people’s problems than your own.
  • You find yourself avoiding certain people because strong emotions come up when you are with them.
  • You hear yourself telling others “What you need to do is…..” or saying “Why doesn’t she just _____________ and then her life will be fine.”
  • Watching your loved ones or friends repeat the same mistakes really bugs you.
  • You worry more than you like and wish you knew how to stop.
  • Your children come to you with their problems and you’d like to help them feel better, without “fixing” it for them.
  • You can’t stand watching your children struggle.

This workshop was inspired by some of the girls in my summer camp who felt burdened by some of the secrets they had been asked to carry by friends who were in a really bad place. Please share this invitation with your daughters age 13 and up and bring them along if they are interested.

Mom’s Mini-Retreat (teenage girls welcome, too.)  Sunday, November 23rd 12pm-3:00pm near Walnut Creek.  $35.00 each, includes lunch, drinks and an interactive workshop. Space is Limited, Sign Up Today. 

If you are interested in the topic but can’t make the live retreat, click here and let me know.   If I get enough interest, I’ll create a webinar version.


How many are coming?



2 thoughts on “How to Help Your Friends & Loved Ones (without losing yourself)

  1. Hi Torie,
    I’m trying to sign up for this class (which looks amazing!) and having trouble? It’s possible I’m missing something here. I’ve tried from both mobile and desktop. Just want to reserve a space! Thanks so much, looking forward to it!

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