5 Signs You Should Check Up On Your Friends

Maybe you met on the playground making bracelets, or perhaps by the water cooler at work when you first started. However you got here, you’re friends! And friends are especially important in the middle of a global pandemic. But, sometimes, our friends need us a little bit more than usual. Everyone has different ways of signaling they’re in need of help, so it can be tough to tell when your friends are really struggling. It becomes especially tough when we have to spend extra effort focusing on getting ourselves through our day-to-day in such a challenging world. Sometimes, though, you just need to put a little extra effort into those friendships you’ve had forever (or only for a bit). Here are five ways to tell when your friends may need a little extra love, as told by women who know when to check up on their besties.

  1. 1. They become distant

    Woman sitting on a white window sill looking out into the distance

    Perhaps you used to text every day, and now you only get the occasional response every couple of days. Don’t get offended by a slow, short, or non-existent response to your texts or calls! When someone feels down, it can be harder to engage with others. Your friend may withdraw into themselves, and the thought of calling you back may seem like too much. 

    Though it may seem like they don’t want to hear from you, a lack of response to your text messages could mean that your friend is more in need of your daily texts than ever. “When my friend takes a long time to respond to my texts, like a lot longer, I know that she needs me. I just give her a call,” says Alex*, a senior at Columbia University. “If she doesn’t answer, I’ll leave a voicemail, letting her know I’m thinking of her or that I miss her. It usually is enough to where she calls back and I can figure out what’s going on.”

    But even if they don't get back to you, they know you're ready when they are. 

  2. 2. They stop doing their work

    miley cyrus

    “If my friend has stopped going to classes or starts skipping shifts at work, I know something’s up,” says Abby*, a junior at College of Charleston. If your friend has suddenly stopped coming to your 10 a.m., or skips multiple days of work, that’s a pretty sure sign that something’s up. Neglecting responsibilities could be a sign that something is seriously wrong.

    If you notice your friend laying in bed all day instead of doing what they’re supposed to be doing, maybe ask to talk. This doesn’t just go for work; this also applies to extracurriculars. If your friend really loves to knit, and suddenly throws the yarn in the trash, chances are they need some love.

  3. 3. They blow off plans 

    Woman in bed

    It could be a standing Wednesday marg date, or it could just be the weekend night in that you two had planned together. Once could be no big deal, but if your friend starts blowing off the group chat’s plans every weekend, then something could be going on.

    Shoot a quick text to make sure everything’s okay, and figure out if it’s something bigger than just not wanting Friday Happy Hour with the girls. “If she blows us off a couple times in a row, and I really haven’t seen her in a while, I know she’s not okay,” says Regan* a medical student at University of Maryland. 

  4. 4. They seem to be crying for help

    Students Partying

    It’s one thing for your friend to be casually drinking on a night out, but if they’re drinking an entire fifth in one night while people cheer them on, it could be a cry for help. If they’re participating in attention seeking or reckless behaviors, like wanting to drive under the influence, causing arguments on purpose, or doing other dangerous activities, they definitely need you. “If it’s like a chill drinking vibe, and they were to get, like, blackout, I’d be concerned,” says Abby. “Some of my friends are also open to drugs if they’re offered when they’re upset. That’s a big red flag for me.” If your friends are acting wildly out of charcter, chances are they could use your help.

  5. 5. They’ve just gone through a major life event

    If your friend has gone through a breakup, lost a loved one, lost their job, or just moved somewhere new, they could definitely use some extra support. Though they might seem fine on the outside, it’s important to check up on your friends in times of change. “Life has a lot of ups and downs,” says Emily*, a senior at Georgetown University. “I like to be more communicative with my friends when they’re down.”

If any of the above resonate with you, maybe it’s time to shoot your friend a quick text. And, if it doesn’t, maybe you should text them anyway. 

*Names have been changed.