4 things to do INSTEAD of saying, "Can I do anything to help?"

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What do you do when a friend is in a tough spot? (Miscarriage. Morning Sickness. Military deployment. Lost job. Recovering from new baby. Death in the family. Bad day. Etc.)

If you are like most people, you will call up or send a text or write on his/her facebook wall, "Let me know if I can do anything to help."

If you're a little more action-oriented, you'll say, "Can I do anything to help?"

Your friend replies, "Will do" or "I'll let you know." But then - they DON'T. Because it's tough to ask for specific help when you're hurting, in part because you don't even know what to ask for.

Someone once said to me, "If you ever find yourself in a situation where you don't know what to do to help someone, do SOMETHING." I've been trying to get better about this.

Here are four fail-safe ways to bring some sunshine to a friend's rainy spirits -

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1. Deliver a meal. I am convinced that food is a relationship-builder and a wound-healer. How many illnesses and frustrations have been cured by a happy dinner table or a delicious dessert? Many. Drop by with a tray of chicken enchiladas, a pot of spaghetti and some bread sticks, or a hearty vegetable lasagna. If you don't have the time to make from scratch, there's no shame at all in ordering take-out or stopping in at a meal prep place. If you don't have the budget to do a whole meal, bring 1 simple dish (pasta salad, a basket of fruit, or a loaf of bread).

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2. Write a note. Pick up a funny, sentimental, musical, or giant card (Have you seen those? So cool!) at Hallmark. Or make one yourself. Not sure what to say? How about "I'm thinking of you," paired with a genuine compliment or a warm wish. You don't have to be poetic. Just put a stamp on it and send your heart.

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3. Just say it. Speaking of compliments, never underestimate the power of words. I know I've had entire days ruined by mean words. On the flip side, I've had entire days brightened by a single sentence. Mother Teresa's quote is truer than true, ”kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.

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4. Give a [small] gift. No need to spend a lot of money. Even the tiniest thing will show you care. A box of homemade cookies. A chocolate bar. A packet of seeds. A necklace charm. A bunch of wild flowers. A pair of slippers. A stationary set. A hardbound journal. Anything will do.

What do you do when a friend is in a tough spot? What meals do you think are the easiest to make and/or deliver?

©2020 Stephanie Sheaffer - All Rights Reserved
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