How to Show People Love When You Can’t Fix Their Problems

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It’s natural to want to help friends or loved ones when they’re in tough situations. And when you can, it’s great to help. But sometimes people have problems that you can’t fix, or hurts that you can’t just make better, no matter how much you wish you could. In those times you might feel helpless or frustrated for being unable to solve the issues. However, even when you can’t fix the situation, there are ways you can stand in support for someone going through something difficult.

Listen

Listen even if it’s the same thing over and over again. Listen knowing you can’t say anything that will make an answer appear. Listen without giving advice every time. Learn the value of just being there.

Serve them

When you’re going through something tough, even the smallest things can seem like insurmountable tasks. A lot of people will show up with meals the week after a funeral, but there are plenty of other ways to help someone who’s grieving or in trouble. Show up and help out a bit with the housecleaning. volunteer to drive to a doctor’s appointment, bring a little gift over.

Affirm

Give deliberate reminders that someone matters to you. Write a note, whether on paper or social media. Remind people of their value, their past achievements and their qualities. Pray for them and let them know. Call them up to remind them that you’re going to be there for them and you’ll make the time for it.

Offer distraction

It’s not always the time for a distraction, so you’ll need to use a little discretion. But sometimes, in the middle of a rough spot, just a couple of hours to forget about a problem are a welcome relief. It doesn’t have to be wildly creative. A movie, a run to the gym, a grocery shopping trip—it doesn’t really matter what it is, it’s just something else to do. Sometimes people need space and silence to think. But too much thinking can make a problem seem worse, especially if it can’t be solved by thinking. Provide an outlet.


It’s not always your job to fix other people’s problems, and oftentimes you can’t. However, you can always show that you care and make yourself available for support, and that’s incredibly valuable in its own right.

I'm a lover of words in all forms, sweatshirts in all conditions, and God in all circumstances. I particularly enjoy working collaboratively on the written word and wearing microfiber robes (preferably at the same time). Most of the time I don't get enough sleep, but I make a valiant effort.

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