How to Help a Friend When They Don't Want Help

Nothing hurts more than seeing your best friend/ loved one sad or anxious. As many times as they tell you no, usually they need some support through the hard time. Personally, I’ve found five tactics extremely helpful without being overbearing or intrusive.

Be present.

This can range from doing homework next to them, walking them to class, to even sending them a funny tweet or picture that reminds you of them. Knowing that someone is thinking about you can bring comfort on some of the darkest days.

Do NOT push for details.

Odds are if your best friend/SO isn’t telling you, there’s a reason. There’s a huge difference between gentle bringing up topics and diving head first into them. Respect is a mutual, and a very important tactic to use when helping a friend who is sad.

Make sure they eat.

I don’t mean shoving their face with food or yelling at them until they do so, I mean making pasta and bringing them a plate. Even something as simple as, “Hey I’m heading to Subway, let’s split a sub,” can be the difference between that person eating or not that day.

Don’t tip toe around the problem/person rooting their sadness.

This tidbit of advice will help in the long run. By not treating life that differently, one creates a safe environment. It is important to not constantly bring up the problem, but more so ease into what happened and how you can help. Being pushy is never the answer, but being a good listener is.. which leads to the most important advice I can give.


Do not say, “well this one time I…. my friend went through…” comparing their situation to something that you’ve experienced will not help them. You learn more listening rather than thinking about the next thing to say or trying to create a comparable scenario. Listening to someone can help them heal more than your sub-par story that’s trying to relate. Don’t push for one to spill their heart out all at once, more so just listen.

All in all, every situation and friendship is different, but remember that you truly do not know what someone is going through. Being a good friend is something that everyone needs to be, and remember that people remember your actions more often than remembering your words.