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How to Give and Receive Emotional Support

How to Give and Receive Emotional SupportGiving and receiving emotional support seems like something that should come naturally to us. But many people, when in such a position, find it harder to do than they thought. What do I say to give support? Is there anything I shouldn’t say? When I need support, am I being needy? Am I being a bother?

How to Receive Emotional Support

· Share Your Story with Others. If your family and friends don’t know anything is wrong, how can you expect them to know you need support? Humans have yet to develop the ability to read minds. They need to be alerted to your wants and desires. So, even if it’s an unpleasant one, share your story with them.

· Accept any Help that is Offered to You. When a loved one offers to help you, you may start to worry that you are a bother, and turn them down. Instead of doing that, however, you should accept all the help you can get. Your loved ones want to be as helpful to you, as you would be to them, in similar situations. While turning them down may feel like you’re making life easier on them, accepting their help will benefit both of you.

· Ask for the Right Company. When you need emotional support, it is probably best to ask for the support of those who can provide it. Asking for support from your drinking buddy is not going to be as helpful as asking for support from your life-long friend, your family, or your significant other. Surround yourself with the right company for the situation.

· Ask Your Supports What They Think You Need. So you have a solid support group in place. But you haven’t been in your situation before, and are unsure what it is that you need. Ask them. Even if they haven’t been in the situation before themselves, seeing the situation from the outside gives them a different perspective. If nothing else, it will provide options and maybe give you an idea of what to do next.

· Go to a Professional. If all else fails, seeing a professional for support is always an option. Many (wrongly) fear going to a professional is a sign of weakness, but sometimes it is the best option to pursue.

Do emotions feel scary and overwhelming? Take our emotion regulation quiz and find out ways to cope. 

How to Give Emotional Support

· Give Some Physical Contact, However Small. You don’t necessarily need to give big bear hugs to punctuate your support. A small touch on his arm or shoulder is more than enough in most situations. If he pulls away, do not force it. Not everybody is comfortable with physical contact.

· Listen First. Take a moment to listen to her problems. Only then can you put together good, solid advice. If you only know part of the situation, and try to assume the rest, you may only cause frustration and further emotional damage. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason.

Learn more about how listening actively can benefit your relationships. 

· Ask Little Questions to Keep the Conversation Going. Avoid one-worded responses and long, interrogative questions. Keep the conversation moving along with small questions such as: “How did that make you feel?” “Then what happened?” “What will you do now?”

· Do Not Avoid Eye Contact. You don’t need to stare him down, but make sure to punctuate your sentences with good eye contact. When you avoid looking at him, he may start to feel that something is wrong with him.

· Restate Her Comments. Don’t repeat what she said back to her word-for-word. Paraphrase it. That way it’s clear that you are listening and understanding what’s going on.

· Make Sure to Follow Up. Don’t act like it’s all done when the two of you stop the conversation. Wait a few days, then talk to him again and ask how the situation is developing. Make it clear that he and his situation are still on your mind and that you care.

Get Support

For additional support with relationships, communication or personal growth, contact one of our counselors in Houston for help.To get started now give us a call to schedule an appointment at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online.

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Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP on Twitter
Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP
Rachel’s passion is to help people discover their personal gifts and strengths to achieve self-acceptance, create a healthy relationship with food, mind and body, and find meaning and fulfillment in work and life roles. She helps people create nurturance and healing from within to restore balance and enoughness and overcome binge eating, emotional eating, anxiety, depression and lack of career fulfillment.

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