Human beings care and look out for those closest to them. At the core, humans are made to stick together and take care of one another. It is common for friends to be there supporting one another when one person is struggling.
However, how can you be there for your friend if you are unsure of what they are feeling in the first place? To be a good friend, learn how to tell if a loved one is struggling so you can be there for them in their time of need. Here are some of the signs that might indicate a friend is struggling and some ideas on what you can do to help.
They Are Constantly Cancelling Plans
Have you ever had a friend that, no matter how far in advance you plan something, always seems to flake? Over time, you may become frustrated and begin distancing yourself from them because you do not see a point in including them in plans anymore, but this could be a mistake.
Sometimes, people cancel plans because they are struggling on the inside. They care about you and do not want to burden you with their struggles, so they cancel plans and make up an excuse.
There are times when friends may not give a reason or even a heads up for canceled plans. This may also be frustrating, but instead of giving your friend the cold shoulder, you should consider reaching out to them and asking if everything is okay. You may be surprised to learn the real reason behind canceled plans. By talking to your friend, you can be there for them in their time of need.
They Seem Disconnected When You Hang Out
If you can get your friend to spend time together in person, the experience may not be as expected. Instead of the fun person you know them to be, they may seem down in the dumps or completely disconnected from reality. It may almost seem as if they are dissociating or lost in their own world. It can be easy to take this as a personal slight against you, but it is crucial to take a step back and consider the bigger picture.
Think of the last time you were struggling with mental health or when something heavy was weighing on your chest. You probably got lost in your own thoughts frequently too, and you can empathize with your friend by understanding this. Seeming disconnected can signify that someone is struggling, and you should not jump to conclusions before asking your friend if they are okay.
You Notice More Drug and Alcohol Use
People do not become addicted to drugs and alcohol because they are doing well in life. Often, addiction begins as a coping mechanism, using drugs and alcohol to bury negative feelings. If you notice that your friend is using drugs or alcohol more often, it could point to a more significant underlying issue.
Rather than brushing it off, you should talk to them to see if everything is okay. If you do not feel comfortable confronting them on the issue, you could speak to someone close to them, like a family member. From there, you can devise a plan as to how you can properly help them before things go from bad to worse. If you need professional advice, consider contacting a treatment facility that specializes in addiction treatment.
How to Help a Friend That Is Struggling
You may be unsure of what you can do to make a difference or lift your friend’s spirits, but ultimately just letting them know that you are there for them will make all the difference in the world. Shower them with love and acceptance.
If you want to do more, you can continue inviting them to plans even if you think they will say no. This will show that you still care for them and want them around, which can boost their self-esteem and mood. You can also offer hugs or moral support or ask if there is anything specific you can do to make them feel better. Sometimes, doing your own research and finding support groups that you can send them can also be helpful.
Ultimately, you do not want to force your friend to talk if they are not ready yet. Letting them know that you are there to listen is enough, and you should trust that they will come to you when you are ready. Be patient and know that you can be there for them through this process.
Seeing a close friend struggle can be challenging, especially if you are unsure what is wrong or how you can help. Learning the signs of a friend that is struggling can give you an earlier inclination that something might be wrong and can let you intervene sooner. You should also learn the best ways to properly handle a friend that is struggling so you ensure they are getting the help they need. At the Detox Center of Colorado, we understand that mental health can significantly impact one’s behavior and friendships, sometimes leading to addiction. If you believe someone you care about is struggling, we are here to provide the first steps to recovery. Located in the beautiful Colorado mountains, our facility offers a safe space for individuals struggling with substance use and mental health disorders to begin their recovery journey. To learn more about our program, call (303) 952-5035 today.