What Does “Checking on Your Friends” Look Like?
It’s a common reminder we see on Instagram almost every day: check on your friends. The easiest way to check on a friend is probably to let them know you’re here if they need someone to talk to. But not everyone who needs help is going to feel comfortable sharing their struggles with others. People have different personalities, love languages, and ways of showing emotion. With those things in mind, here are some ways you can check on your friends without putting too much of a burden on them.
- Send them something via snail mail.
For your old-fashioned friends, or for your friends who love receiving gifts, something as simple as opening an envelope or cutting open a little box is enough to boost their spirits. If you write them a note, maybe throw in a Polaroid or a pressed flower from one of your many quarantine walks for an extra cute touch.
- Recommend them a song, movie, or podcast.
For your friends who are in need of some quality time, shoot them a text recommending that they watch or listen to something that you think they’d enjoy (especially if they were your movie or concert buddy pre-quarantine). This is a simple gesture that shows someone that you’re thinking of them without pressuring them to open up or spill their guts.
- Express your own feelings first.
Tell your friends how much you miss them or enjoy talking to them. Sometimes being the first to express feelings can coax someone into opening up about their own thoughts. Either way, remind the people you love that you love them and that you value your friendship and the support you both give each other.
- “Read the room.”
Whichever way you choose to check in on your friends, be sure to respect their boundaries and be observant about what that particular friend might need. Some friends are looking for a solution, while others just want someone to listen. Encourage them to be forward about their needs. Ask, “Is there anything I can do for you?” or, “is this something you want to talk about right now?” before jumping into a response. This extra step shows your friend that you’re astute to their needs and boundaries.
Remember that you can check on someone without making them feel pressured, and that someone can be going through something without “looking” like it from the outside. And always make sure to check in with yourself first so you’re not pouring from an empty cup. And be weary of one-sided friendships: it takes two to tango!