Cheering up an upset friend requires empathy --- the ability to recognise and share feelings with another. Angry or sad people need space to talk and express their feelings without judgment. You can help a troubled friend most by letting her know that you care and will be there for her when she needs you.
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An upset friend needs to be heard. Too often, people don't really listen but just wait until it's their turn to talk. Look your friend in the eye and allow her to express what she's feeling. Avoid offering solutions to the problem or relating her pain to something that's happened to you. Just let her talk and acknowledge her feelings. Phrases such as "I see that you're upset" and "I understand what you're saying" will let her know you hear her.
The power of touch lets us connect with someone on a deeper level. It also lessens anxiety and increases endorphins. Reaching out with a kind gesture will let your friend know that you care. A hug, arm around the shoulder, hand squeeze or foot massage will reassure and comfort someone who is upset.
Upset people can be trapped in their pain or anger and unable to see beyond it. Stay positive and when appropriate, remind the person that things will get better. Let your friend know that she has many people in her life that love and care for her. Take her out for dinner and a movie --- a change of scenery often helps. Encourage your friend to participate in spiritual activities or volunteer work, since helping others often makes us feel better, too.
Helping an upset friend usually takes time. Be patient and continue to check in often, either by phone or in person. Continue to listen even if you've heard the story many times. Surprise your friend with little gifts and include her in activities when possible. Buy or lend her books and CDs that may help and encourage her to find a support group if she needs to be around others who are experiencing the same problem.
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