How to Help People

Three Methods:Supporting a Friend in NeedHelping the Less FortunateHelping as an Everyday Job

It can be hard to help people who are having struggles. All friends are required to help out their fellow friend in a time of need. Helping others is not limited to familiar faces. Use compassion for both the people close to you and for those in need.

Method 1
Supporting a Friend in Need

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    Make yourself available. When your friend is going through a breakup or bad streak in school, she need you to be available for support. You don’t need to take off work or avoid your commitments. Work around your schedule to be there for your bud.
    • Prioritize your obligations. Cancel a date and be upfront with her about why you need to cancel.
    • Lend your ears. Offer your ears to the fullest extent. Nobody can heal if their friend can’t pay attention.
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    Show your appreciation. You can show you appreciate your friend in many ways. The influence of social media is particularly strong today. Make a loving post on Twitter or Facebook and detail how much you appreciate this person.[1] You can show her appreciation through gifts as well. Try bringing one these to show your support:
    • Her favorite ice-cream.
    • A mix tape with her in mind.
    • Tickets to a band she likes.
    • A well crafted letter.
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    Do not be pushy. Don’t try to offer everything to your pal at once. A lot of the time people will need personal time to overcome a hardship. Offer yourself for that person, but be prepared for her to need space. Be patient and don’t push your way into helping her out.[2]
    • Some people have friendships that can be pushy, but it just depends on your relationship. Feel out the situation.
    • Call or text her before showing up with a pint of ice-cream.
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    Rally support. Sometimes it is only appropriate for you to console a friend, but other times she’ll appreciate a wider support network. Feel out the situation and bring in extra support if your friend is comfortable with it.[3]
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    Respond to emotions. When someone comes to you feeling sad, depressed and emotionally drained one way you could help is by acting on their emotions. Act as a vessel for emotions to pass in and out of. Connect with familiar emotions you’ve experienced and tell how you dealt with it.[4]
    • Offer your shoulder to cry on. Tears are healthy and sometimes necessary for emotional recovery. Suppressing tears will only extend the recovering process. Tell her it’s okay to cry and say “I’m here for you no matter what.”
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    Use humor. When someone is feeling down, bring her up with a laugh! When she lets you talk, tell her your opinion on the whole ordeal and crack a few jokes. Not a jokes like "Knock, Knock" or "Two guys walk into a bar." Use the humor your friendship was bred on. There is a delicate line of helping and mocking when throwing in your humor. Bring up old, funny moments in both of your lives.
    • Bring up an inside joke.
    • Tell a bizarre story that happened to you recently.
    • Don’t push the jokes if she isn't feeling it.
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    Contact professional help. Sometimes you just cannot do it alone and that is okay. Only contact and arrange a meeting with a therapist if your friend hasn't changed moods for an extended period of time. If in one full week nothing has changed, arrange a therapist counseling session.
    • Prolonged depression is serious and needs to handled by professional help. Medication and psychological counseling are very effective for combating depression.[5]

Method 2
Helping the Less Fortunate

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    Make contributions. Find a charity organization that you agree with and donate money. Most charities will either take a one time donation or a monthly contribution. Many charities rely on volunteers, but most couldn’t do anything to help without contributors.
    • Start small by rounding up a dollar at certain retailer who takes donations.
    • It is easier to give money opposed to lending a physical hand, but even by donating can increase your happiness.[6]
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    Volunteer your time. Research local charities in your community and choose one that you agree with. Go to their website and contact their volunteer coordinator. Ask about volunteering opportunities. If you look at your schedule you’ll notice some spaces here and there.
    • Giving can be one of the most rewarding experiences. There are so many who struggle everyday. Many of these people rely on the help from caring volunteers.
    • A study found that regular volunteering increases the participant's happiness, satisfaction with life, self-esteem, and sense of control on life.[7]
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    Choose food drives. There is a large shift for canned food drives. If you are in charge of a firm or event coordination, choose to hold a food drive. Some local communities are even accepting canned food as payment for parking violations.
    • Always bring canned food if there is an option.
    • Even if you aren’t in coordination with some type of event, there are plenty of opportunities for donating food year-round.
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    Practice kindness everyday. You don’t need to go too out of your way to assist others. Hold the door open and let them in before you. It might not be a tremendous gesture, but it could make someone’s day. Simple acts of kindness can even provide mental and physical benefits for yourself.[8]
    • Help someone pick up a dropped item. You’ve seen somebody drop dozens of papers on a busy street before. People drop things all the time. Be a minute late and help someone out.
    • Allow someone to go in front of you at the grocery store. Offer someone with less items to check out in front of you.
    • Treat others with compassion. Don’t treat those working behind a register as being lower than yourself. Try avoid the robotic responses that are easier to say to those in the customer service industry. Be kind to everyone you interact with.

Method 3
Helping as an Everyday Job

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    Become a teacher. Teaching doesn’t need to be limited to being a high school or elementary school teacher. There are many part time instructors that teach skills at the convenience of their schedule. Being a teacher can be a rewarding process for yourself while helping others. Being a “teacher” isn’t enough in school; you have to be a “great teacher” and it’s not for everyone. You can offer your services without becoming an accredited teacher in some of these fields:
    • Music lessons
    • Math tutoring
    • ESL instruction
    • Science tutoring
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    Become a first response. Being a first response means being the first on the site of an emergency call. To become an EMT-B requires an extensive eight hour credit class and plenty of opportunities to work your way up to a paramedic. Firefighters are also part of a first response and possess much of the paramedic training. These jobs are potentially life threatening, but the reward of helping others in dire need makes it worthwhile for those interested.
    • Look into your local branches of firefighters and paramedics to see what type of requirements are needed. Most of the training can be done locally at a community college or certification program.[9]
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    Participate in non-profits and social justice. Non-profit organizations are organizations that use their profit solely to profit their charitable or educational mission. Starting a non-profit organization can be laborious and expensive. Try your luck by volunteering or interning at one of your choice. Take a look at the following categories of non-profits to see if a particular area may appeal to you:
    • Arts and culture
    • Charity and foundation
    • Community development and advocacy
    • Educational research
    • Health services
    • Social or human services[10]
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    Work pro bono. If you are in a client based field and hold authority, consider not charging clients in need. Bring up opportunities to your supervisor if you don’t hold authority. Pro bono work is a noble decision that benefits the client in-need greatly.
    • You can save on your taxes for meeting qualifying expenses by working pro bono.
    • Consider a strict screening process to decide what clientele would qualify.
    • Consider reaching out to struggling communities as opposed to choosing an existing client. Many people in need will not come to you first. Typically the organization will need to start the discussion.[11]
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    Become an occupational therapist. Occupational therapists help people of all ages who might have physical limitations in everyday activities. Common tasks for occupational therapists are assisting children with learning disabilities and assisting those recovering from an injury. They assist with any action that could be considered to be an everyday activity regardless of why the client can’t perform the activity.[12]
    • You’ll need to complete a masters program and pass a licensing exam to pursue occupational therapy.[13]
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    Work as a registered nurse. There is always a need for registered nurses everywhere in the world. This career is also involved with helping others on a daily basis. The job requires you to be with people during their time of physical suffering and recovery. Registered nurses administer medications, inform patients of their treatment plans, and provide emotional support for both the patient and their family.
    • This is not a job for someone who is squeamish when it comes to bodily fluids and disease.
    • You can get a degree from an accredited associate's school or even receive a degree from a bachelor’s program.[14]


  • Don't ever try to change the subject when someone comes to you for help. They obviously trust you, stay on target.
  • If you see someone who looks depressed or sad, don't just walk right over and try to help, let them come to you.


  • Hearing others problems may hurt your emotions. Be prepared to feel some heartache.
  • Some people may get aggravated if you try to help. If so, walk away.

Article Info

Categories: Supporting Friends