How to Help your Friends Without Letting them Wear you Down

If you are reading this you may be a person who is cursed with a soft heart. You are always there for your friends when they need someone to talk to, and you always lend a helping hand when they need it.

You may even offer them a place to stay and lend them money. Since you are such a kind person, it may be hard for you to set healthy boundaries between you and your friends. When you do too much for others you are not helping them and you are hurting yourself.

If you find yourself becoming worn out by your friends’ demands, start to set boundaries. Decide right now who you will be willing to help and when. Then, as you say no to your friends when they ask you for things you are not willing to give, beware of persistence.

If your friends try to convince you to help them even after you insist that you cannot or you will not, state very emphatically a very stern “No”. They may resent you for a few days, or even a week, but if they are truly your friends they will come around.

Besides, they will soon be able to need you less. You would be surprise how you are no longer “the only one who can help” when you insist that you will not or cannot do everything your friends ask of you.

Of course, you may even lose a friend or two. However, if you do remember that it may not have been the healthiest friendship anyway. Why keep bonded with people who only want you around when you have something they need or want? That is not what true friendship is about.

Other tips you will want to keep in mind when helping friends are one or more of the following:

—Have compassion for your friends, and listen without judgment when they confide in you. However, this does not mean that you will just always tell them what you want to hear. With tact, you may want to motivate them down a different path if they are headed down one that is destructive.

—Never feel that you are responsible for your friends. The troubles your friends may get into is their problem and make it a point not to take on their problems as your own.

—If your friend shares a secret with you keep it in confidence. Do not spread it around your school, church, or community. This is the fastest way to lose a friend and no one will ever come to you again.

—Be honest if your friend comes to you with a problem and you do not think you can help him or her with it. For instance, they may confide in you about an ethical issue such as abortion or homosexuality. If it is something that you care not to share your views about you may want to tell your friends so.

—Do not help anyone if your own life is a mess. Most people feel better about their own lives if they can reach out to others. This is a very valuable way to not feel sorry for your self.

However, if your life is truly a mess, do not attempt to help anyone else. For instance, if you are $10,000 in dept and you barely make enough money to eat you most likely would not lone a friend or neighbor a large sum of money.

The above tips are not all-inclusive. You can do further reading regarding codependency and boundaries in order to know when you end and another person begins.

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