Finding Time to Support Your Friends When Trouble Comes

When trouble comes into the life of a friend or a family member, what do you do?

Balancing your needs and responsibilities when others unexpectedly need your help or support presents you with a big time management challenge.

And at the same time, being able to offer support and encouragement when it’s needed is an important part of your relationships.

Time and Trouble

You may not even want to think about it at the time, but your ability to make good time choices, even in the midst of a crisis, is a key element in sustaining your energy. It makes it possible for you to be as helpful as possible throughout a difficult time.

Much has been written about finding time to nurture friendships. Usually the recommendations include such action steps as setting aside time for lunch, regular telephone contact and social evenings.  But how to support friends when they seek your help and understanding in times of trouble or crisis is not so frequently discussed.

There is one fundamental difference between social contact and helping a friend in crisis. When a friend’s need for support is immediate, the timing of the contact is not flexible.

For example…

Consider this scenario, which may be all too familiar to you in these difficult economic times:

A close friend of yours unexpectedly loses her job. She is angry, frightened and hurt emotionally. Her need for your support right now goes well beyond matching up schedules for lunch or for an hour on the phone. In this type of situation, that kind of flexibility is not possible.

But at the same time, your schedule is probably no more flexible than usual.  What can you do to avoid the stress of finding sufficient time to be a good friend “right now” … not tomorrow or next Friday, when you might actually have free time?

Trouble Tip: How do you feel?

First, take a deep breath, pause, and examine your own feelings. It’s important to respond from a grounded place, rather than being reactive … so find time to understand how you feel about this event before you decide how you are going to support your friend. Do you feel:

  • Obligated?
  • Pressured?
  • Guilty, because you’re thinking about how the need to support your friend will complicate your planned activities?

The more conflicted you feel, the more difficult it is to support your friend.  So clear your mind of all sense of obligation or guilt. These are not good motivators for realigning your schedule and will likely leave you feeling victimized yourself, in the end.

Trouble Tip: Be Realistic

The next step is to remain realistic about your ability to realign your existing commitments. It’s important to not create expectations that you may not be able to meet.

Once you have considered your own feelings, you are ready to adjust your priorities … finding your balance point between being the friend you’d like to be and accomplishing what you need to do.

Offering your friend your undivided, unhurried attention with genuine caring will provide more support than ‘sacrificing’ more extensive time while feeling distracted, resentful and over-extended.

I hope this post was helpful, and would love to hear about how YOU make these kinds of time choices for yourself.  What do you find helpful?  Where do the biggest challenges lie?  Let me know what you think!

Here’s more help for you.

What if you could find another hour every day? You can! You are invited to sign up for your FREE Finding Time Success Kit. It puts 3 key tools for your time success right into your hands! Grab it and see how you can recharge your energy, reduce overwhelm and frustration, and come to learn that 24 hours really ARE enough!

Let’s explore time together…

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