7 Ways to (Really) Help a Friend in Need

You probably can't do much to change the situation but you can make it better by saving the generic "I'm so sorry" and trying these helpful exercises instead (8 Photos)

Lori Hope on Aug 10, 2012 at 4:58PM

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7 Ways to (Really) Help a Friend in Need

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I. Imagine Yourself in Your Friend's Shoes

Poppy suffers from PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. “Those who have struggled themselves or who have seen a friend struggle with mental health issues or trauma are generally understanding and supportive,” she writes. “There are others who do try. Then there are the ones who are very self-centered. I guess empathy isn't something that everyone has.”

How to help: Psychologist Paul Ekman, author of Emotional Awareness: Overcoming the Obstacles to Psychological Balance and Compassion: A conversation between the Dalai Lama and Paul Eckman, explains while some people have less capacity for emotional empathy, most of us can imagine what others are feeling -- if we make an effort. Think about what it might be like to have a disease that’s invisible or a time when you experienced something terribly painful. Acknowledge that although you don’t know what your friend is going through, you’re trying to understand – and you’re there for her.

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