Interacting with someone who’s sad and hurting can be awkward you want to be there for them, show your empathy, and strengthen your relationship, but it’s hard to know how to act and what to say. A lot of us end up sitting there uncomfortably.
When faced with tears, it’s natural to want to try to snap the person out of it with smiles and jokes, or by insisting that whatever they’re upset about is no big deal. Sometimes the most important thing you can do for a depressed friend is to just listen sympathetically while they talk about what is bothering them, allowing them to relieve the pressure of pent-up feelings and make sure to listen without interrupting. We all wish to fix things for those we care about and often offer quick fixes to cope with our own feelings of helplessness. Sometimes people who are depressed just need to talk without having the conversation taken over with well-meaning advice
Words play a powerful role in shaping people’s emotions because humans are such a social species. People’s brains are finely attuned to information they get from others, and they’re constantly using it as feedback to change their behaviours and responses, said Razia Sahi, a doctoral candidate in psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studies how social interactions influence people’s emotions. other people care a lot about what we think but the words we use to comfort others matter, as some forms of verbal support have been found to be more helpful than others. Interpersonal rejections constitute some of the most distressing and consequential events in people’s lives. Whether one considers a romantic rejection, the dissolution of a friendship, ostracism by a group, estrangement from family members, or merely being ignored or excluded in casual encounters, rejections have myriad emotional, psychological, and interpersonal consequences. People not only react strongly when they perceive that others have rejected them but a great deal of human behaviour is influenced by the desire to avoid rejection. one of the most difficult things about trying to comfort someone who’s hurting is feeling like you don’t know what to say. Fortunately, most of the time people aren’t actually looking for you to offer specific advice or pearls of wisdom; the most comforting thing in the world isn’t an inspiring platitude, but feeling like someone else gets what you’re going through, and that you’re not alone in the world. The thing people want most when they’re hurting is for you to act as a sounding board and to show understanding and empathy. this witnessing your loved one’s distress.
A common feeling among those who are depressed is that their lives don’t matter and no one would even care if they were gone. If you can sincerely tell your friend about all the ways that they matter to you and others, this can help them realize that they have value and worth letting them know that they are an important person in your life can mean a lot when someone is struggling with feelings of depression and worthlessness. in this case, it would be best to simply admit that you don’t understand exactly what they are going through, but that you care about them and want to try. Often, the best words to say are, I don’t understand, but I really want to.