How to Help: Practical Tips for Supporting Those in Need


Helping those in need is an essential part of creating a community that is compassionate and supportive. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or stranger, everyone can use a helping hand from time to time. In this article, we’ll explore practical tips for offering assistance to those who are struggling.

Offer a Listening Ear

One of the most important things you can do when someone is going through a tough time is to listen actively. This means not just hearing their words but trying to understand their feelings and empathize with their experience. To be a good listener, avoid interrupting or judging them. Instead, ask open-ended questions to encourage them to share more. For example, instead of “why did you do that?” say “what made you decide to do that?” This way, you can help them feel heard and validated.

Provide Practical Assistance

Practical assistance can make a big difference in someone’s life when they are struggling. This can include things like helping with household chores, cooking meals, and running errands so that they don’t have to worry about those things. When offering practical assistance, it is essential to be sensitive to what they need and what will be most helpful. For example, one person may appreciate having someone clean their home, while another may prefer someone to run errands with them.

Share Your Experience

Sharing your experiences with someone can help them feel less alone in their struggles. By admitting that you have gone through similar struggles, you can empathize with their experience and validate their feelings. However, it’s essential to keep the focus on them and not turn the conversation into one about you. When sharing your experience, be honest and vulnerable, but also be mindful of their boundaries and comfort level.

Offer Emotional Support

Emotional support is different from practical assistance in that it focuses on providing empathy, comfort, and a listening ear. This can be as simple as offering kind words or gestures, such as sending a card or offering a hug. When offering emotional support, it’s essential to be mindful of how they are feeling and to listen actively without trying to fix the problem. Sometimes, having someone to vent to is all they need.

Be Available

Being available means that you are there for someone in need, no matter what. This can mean being a sounding board when they need to vent or spending time with them when they are feeling isolated. Being available can also mean staying in touch regularly and checking in on them frequently. It’s essential to be mindful of their boundaries and comfort level when offering your availability, as not everyone wants or needs constant attention.

Help Them Find Resources

There are many resources available to those who are struggling, including counseling services, support groups, and hotlines for crisis situations. When someone is going through a tough time, it’s essential to help them find the resources they need to get through it. This may mean doing research on their behalf, making phone calls, or accompanying them to appointments. Be mindful of their preferences and needs, and encourage them to take advantage of the resources available to them.

Be Patient

Patience is essential when trying to help someone who is struggling. It’s important to avoid pressuring them into making changes or seeking help if they are not ready. Instead, offer encouragement and support without judgment. Celebrate small victories with them, and be patient as they navigate their feelings and struggles.


Supporting those in need is an essential part of creating a kind and compassionate community. Whether it’s offering practical assistance, emotional support, or simply listening, everyone can make a difference. Remember to be patient, empathetic, and mindful of their boundaries and preferences. By taking these steps, you can help someone feel less alone and more supported during difficult times.

As author Leo Buscaglia once said, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Take action today, and be that caring individual someone needs in their life.

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