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Worried about my friend.

Me and my friend have grown apart since I went up to high school but she is going through some really tough times. I want to help her but I've never been faced with the problems she is going through and it's a little scary. I don't know how to help her?
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Sam

Hi there,

Thanks for writing in to me.

It seems that even though you and your friend have grown apart you still care about her and want to  support her. It’s really great that you want to be there for your friend. You say that what your friend is going through is a little scary and it sounds like you’re not sure how to help. You may not have been though exactly what your friend is going through, but you can do a lot just by letting her know that you’re there if she wants to talk. Really listening to someone is about showing them your concentrating on what they're saying and letting them know that you’re interested in what they are saying and are taking them seriously. You don’t have to be an expert on what they are saying and you don’t have to offer advice. Just listening to what things are like for your friend could be a really great way of helping.

It might be worth having a look the Explore page on Helping Others as it has some information around how to help a friend you are worried about. Epic friends is another great website with some top tips on being a good listener.

Helping a friend is a great thing to do, but it is worth remembering that you are not responsible for your friend. You can be there for them but it is their decision to what they want to happen next. It can be a lot to take on what’s going on for another person and it’s ok to need some support for yourself too. If your friend wants you to keep her problems private, then it’s better not to discuss it with other friends, but if you’re worried you could speak to an adult in your life that you trust.

Another option would be to contact a counsellor at ChildLine if you wanted to talk things through a bit more. You might even want to encourage your friend to speak to a ChildLine counsellor herself.  You can do this by logging in for a 1-2-1 chat, by calling for free on 0800 1111or by sending an email (from your ChildLine locker).  The counsellors are there for you and would like to help support you both.

Take care,

Sam

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