Have you ever wondered how to help a friend through a crisis?
What do you say when a good friend tells you;
- She thinks she’s pregnant
- A Good friend says he’s heard from his girlfriend that she’s expecting?
- A close friend tells you she’s had an abortion?
- A friend calls to ask you about what to say to her parents when she breaks the news that she’s pregnant?
- A friend tells you she had a “close call” pregnancy – wise and while she’s not pregnant, she thinks she might have an STD? or
- A girl in your class tells you how she’s being pressured into sex?
Being there for your friends is one of the great privileges of friendship. We all need support and love and acceptance, but we need it most especially when;
- We’re in “crisis mode”
- We’re wondering what to do next
- We need a “safe” and confidential person to talk to
- We don’t know were else to go for real help.
What your friend may need;
- Acceptance and sense of not being alone
- A friendly ear to listen
- A friendly shoulder to cry on
- Some objective, sound input from a trustworthy, reliable helper
- Someone who can help her/him through the process
- Someone who will still be a friend when the crisis is over.
Get Adult Help For Your Friend if You see Any of These Signs;
- Bleeding of any other sort than regular menstrual bleeding
- Abdominal pain in a friend who thinks she is pregnant – this can be a bad sign
- Fever, pain or heavy blood loss following an abortion – this can be a very bad sign
- Talking about suicide, about hurting or cutting themselves
- Making plans to hurt anyone else
- Out of control behavior or drug or alcohol use before driving a vehicle
911 is there for a reason, right?
Here are some more guidelines for how to help a friend in need;
She (or he) probably does not need preaching to, even if you have very strong feelings or opinions about the situation. There is a time and a good way to share your feeling and thoughts, a way that won’t alienate your friend and leave her/him feeling more alone, but this is probably not it, particularly if your friend is upset and emotional.
Ask yourself this question; “If I were in this situation, what’s the first think I’d like to hear my friend say or have my friend do?”most likely this is going to involve some version of words like; “I care about you” or “I’m here for you” or “I’m going to do all I can to help.” or “Keep talking. I want to know more.”
Get your friend to a nice, safe, quiet, private place where you can talk – maybe a park or your home or a table at a food court in a mall. Being with a person while they talk through a situation can go a long ways to helping them move from “crisis” mode to a calmer “take-action” mode. Just make sure the place feels safe and private for the conversation.
It may be that a hug is in order — especially if you’re the same sex — or that you move to stand or site close beside your friend. If you’re on the phone when the conversation starts, you can say something like; “Wow. This hard. I wish I were there to give you a hug right now.”
Big adult-size situations like pregnancy crisis (or suspecting that you have an STD or choosing to become sexually active) needs to involve more people that just those from your group of friends. These are health crises as well as personal ones. Some people you might suggest your friend involve as the situation progress;
- Parents (or other close family members your friend trusts)
- A pastor or rabbi or youth worker your friend knows
- A school counselor
- A doctor
It can be stressful and embarrassing for your friend to think about talking to these people about a possible pregnancy (or a possible STD), so offer to go with your friend.
If you’re in the Orlando, FL area, feel free to give us a call (A Center for Women) at (407) 628-5433. We offer completely confidential and completely free crisis help, free pregnancy testing, free pregnancy support services, factual information about every STI or STD and details on where to get tested, factual information on abortion procedures and post-abortion experiences. Our help is free and non-judgemental. We even offer hours appointments for free pregnancy testing and counseling upon request. Feel freet o call even if you’re not in the Orlando, FL area — we’ll be glad to get your a referral to the same kind of help we offer in your area.