It’s tough to see or hear of a friend in crisis. Empathic people often feel a kick to the gut when a person they care about experiences a heartache. Whether it’s the loss of a spouse, a medical issue with a child, or a painful divorce, a person may be haunted by the pain a loved one is experiencing. Yet, the risk of saying the wrong thing and compounding the hurt is sometimes paralyzing.
Being an Empathic Friend
One idea to keep in mind is that it is healthy for the distressed person to feel what he or she feels in the moment. Perhaps it is anger or despair. Telling the person not to feel sad or angry usually does them a disservice. Although it is not pleasant to see a friend in emotional pain, what he or she feels needs to be honored and respected. When a person in crisis feels understood, he or she feels less alone and more connected to the person who understands.