The Power of Showing Up: How to Be Truly Present for Friends in Need

Being present for friends in need during life’s inevitable storms is one of the greatest gifts you can give.
The Love Central - The Power of Showing Up: How to Be Truly Present for Friends in Need The Love Central - The Power of Showing Up: How to Be Truly Present for Friends in Need
The Power of Showing Up: How to Be Truly Present for Friends in Need

We’ve all been there – getting that late night text or call from a friend whose world seems to be crashing down around them. Maybe they’re going through a brutal breakup, grieving a major loss, or hitting a rough patch with their career or mental health. In those darkest moments, there’s nothing more powerful than having a good friend who simply shows up and is fully present

The stats on loneliness and lack of social support are staggering. According to a recent Cigna study, a shocking 61% of adults report feeling lonely.

For the elderly, the numbers are even higher, with 1 in 4 adults over 65 now classified as socially isolated due to factors like illness, loss of a spouse, or disability. And yet we know that quality connections and feeling seen and heard by others is absolutely vital for our wellbeing. 

Fortunately, learning to be truly present for friends in need when they need it most is a skill anyone can master. It ultimately comes down to three key things:

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Its not enough to just shoot off a let me know if you need anything text Image source Freepik

Actually Showing Up

This sounds obvious, but it’s the critical first step that many of us miss. It’s not enough to just shoot off a “let me know if you need anything” text. Clear your schedule and physically go to your friend when they’re in crisis. 

Show up at their home with food and let yourself in if they’re not answering calls. Meet them at their favorite cafe or beauty parlor – wherever they feel most comfortable. 

The legendary comedian and actor Tiffany Haddish is renowned for this. She often shows up in person for her closest friends going through life’s biggest moments, whether it’s a divorce, a new baby, or the loss of a parent. 

Listen to Understand, Not to Respond

Once you’ve made the effort to be physically present, the next step is to zip it and listen. So many of us struggle with this, always feeling the need to interrupt with our own stories, give advice, or share platitudes like “it could be worse.”

When your BFF is an emotional mess, put those impulses aside. Let them go on those long rants and vent every feeling without judgment or criticism from you. Lend your ears for as long as they need to share their anger, sadness, fear – everything. 

Give a Masterclass in this, and the iconic friendship between Michelle Obama and her tight circle including Valerie Jarrett would be a great source of examples.

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Look for ways to lend a helping hand that could truly support your friend Image source Freepik

Take Concrete Action to Help

Once you’ve physically shown up and done the hard work of listening without an agenda, look for ways to lend a helping hand that could truly support your friend through this trial.

If they’re pining over a breakup, maybe you take them on a long weekend trip to get away and have fun. For the friend dealing with excessive career stress, you could stop by every week to tidy their home, do laundry, and meal prep.

Think of how members of the African diaspora communities can  “mudder” each other by pooling resources and taking action. 

When someone in the community faces hard times, people immediately step up to cook and deliver meals, help with childcare and household chores, assist with expenses, and anything else that’s needed. 

Conclusion: How to Be Truly Present for Friends in Need

Being present for friends in need means being willing to make these concrete gestures of care. Ultimately, showing up for friends during life’s inevitable storms is one of the greatest gifts you can give.

It’s not about having all the answers or perfect advice. It’s about letting your presence, ears, and helping hands do the talking in a way that lets your pal know they aren’t alone. Mastering this skill could be life-changing for both of you.

READ: The Relationship Detox: Why Sometimes Less is More

Is your WhatsApp buzzing more than a Ghanaian market’s loudspeaker? Are you attending more Nigerian owambes than you can count fufu wraps?

For Africans in the diaspora, our vibrant social lives can become overwhelming. It’s time for a relationship detox

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