How Can I Help?
Let’s sit down and chat. I already have a cup of deliciously strong coffee, and I’ll get comfortable while you run and grab your favorite beverage from the kitchen. Would you like sweet tea? Lemonade? Coffee?
Let’s sit in the comfy chairs with the thick cushions – no rush – I’m glad you’re here.
Have you ever thought about our friendship? More than how we met. I mean, what makes us friends? Recently my husband pointed out how people are always dropping in to chat. I teased and said they just like my coffee and cookies. Though my cookies ARE delicious… I’ve come to the conclusion there’s one thing I say that helps draw people in. Here’s a typical scenario and you can see for yourself:
Crystal: “Hello, this is Crystal.”
Amber: “Hey – are you home?”
Crystal: “Sure am – you stopping over?”
Amber: ” If you don’t mind. I’ll be right over.”
If there’s no coffee left in the pot, I’ll start a new pot and put out some snacks or pastries. We have a policy here at our house where you just walk right in.
Amber: “That coffee smells great – I’m exhausted.”
Crystal: “Here’s a hug and a cookie too – now, how can I help?”
The key to being a good friend is not found in the cookie, coffee or the open door policy – it’s right there in those magical words:
This simple phrase open the door to a deeper and more meaningful friendship. Very seldom does a friend respond asking for advice or money. Do you know what people want? They want someone to listen. By the time they’re done explaining the situation, they’ve usually come up with a plan on their own. At the very least, they feel better because they’ve gotten the words out of their head and I can share the burden with them.
I don’t know anything about domestic violence, childhood cancer, changing the oil, and the list goes on. I don’t have thousands of dollars sitting on the counter waiting to be shared. There’s so much I don’t know and don’t have, but I DO know a little something about listening and somehow listening and helping are closely intertwined.
The next time someone comes to you feeling stressed, tired, or overwhelmed, give it a try. Instead of agreeing with them as so many times we do, try and ask them “How can I help?” The conversation will go much differently. If a friend complains about a busy spouse and you join in the conversation by talking about how your spouse does the same this or that as well, you’ll both leave the conversation just as frustrated (possibly even more frustrated) than you were when you began. If you ask how you can help, the tone of the conversation heads toward chatter about a solution instead of additional banter about the problem. When we share our burdens with a friend, we feel lighter. When a friend walks in with a frown and out with a smile, I feel I’ve done my job as a friend.
What do you say to help a friend in need? What has someone said to you that helped you through a tough situation or period in your life?
Crystal is a secretary, council secretary, financial secretary, and musician at her church, birth mother, Auntie, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and their five youngest children (Carmen 13, Andre 11, Breccan 5, Delphine 4, and baby Eudora who will be 2 in a few months), two dogs, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.
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