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These Critical Crisis Management Tips Will Make You a Better Friend

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These Critical Crisis Management Tips Will Make You a Better Friend

Life throws us curveballs without any warning. Some curveballs can come from nowhere and some send us signals they are coming but we choose for what ever reason to, ignore the signs.

Nobody is immune to life’s curveballs. We live in a world where as a result of technology, we are exposed to natural disasters, terrorism, disruption, change and adversity on a daily basis.

The good news is that despite all this disruption, change and adversity that we face in our lives, we are hardwired to be resilient. The ability of how well we as an individual successfully deal with crises and adversity is significantly influenced by our social surroundings.

So what does this all have to do with friendship? A huge amount, because without the support of our friends and family in times of crises, our journey to recovery is virtually non existent.

“Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness” — Euripides

Euripides quote highlights the true purpose of friendship. Supporting and helping our friends to successfully manage their journey through a life crisis enables them to face adversity from a position of strength.

Friendship is the key ingredient to enabling a friend in crises to be able to understand how to face adversity in a way where they can learn, grow and thrive.

If we are a true friend, then our role is to support our friends and not let them crash and burn to a point where they have lost hope and their faith in themselves.

So what can you do to help your friends successfully manage adversity or crises in their lives?

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These 3 strategies I believe are the key ingredients to you being able to effectively influence and support your friends through those curve balls that life will throw at them:

1. Be prepared to commit to your friendship

If you truly want to help and support your friend through a crisis, commit to being there for the long haul – no matter what.

A true friend does not wait for the phone call or the plea for help – they REACH OUT immediately.

This can be a hard thing to do especially when a friend is suffering and in pain. It can be scary and confronting as it means that not only do we feel their pain but we also are forced to face our own emotions and fears that can rise to the surface.

One of the key actions you can do to support your friends is to let them know that you love them, you are there for them and that they are not alone.

2. Commit to taking action

Before you take action, take a long hard look at yourself and decide what your reality is around you taking action. Do not over commit and promise to do things that you cannot deliver on.

A colleague of mine had a friend that broke her neck diving into a pool. She was a mum with young school kids. She desperately needed her friends support and they were all leading very busy lives with young families.

I was very impressed with the way in which my work colleague coped with managing this crisis.

She assessed the reality of how she could realistically provide on going support to her friend. She went and visited her friend in hospital told her that she loved her dearly, she was there for the long haul and she explained what she was going to do to support her friend.

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She had found an app that helped her organize meals to be delivered to the family for 5 nights a week. She had managed to get 80 people to sign up and the app organised emails and scheduling.

When her friend got home from hospital, she blocked out every Wednesday night after work to visit her friend for a wine and a chat.

She also told her friend that she would be her hair, makeup, pedicures go to person. She organized the hairdresser, makeup and pedicure ladies to come to the house on a regular basis. The appointments were scheduled in every 6 weeks.

The accident happened over 18 months ago and my work colleague is still going strong supporting her friend to manage the on going challenges she faces in her life.

3. Listen, listen and listen — Hold back from giving advice until it is asked for

This strategy leads on from Strategy 2. Once you have committed to taking action, then it is time for you to be present with your friend.

What I mean by this is, that as a true friend you do not have the solution or the power to solve the problem or make the pain go away.

Physically being there with your friend is being present and it may mean you turning up and holding your friends hand. It may be that you sit with your friend listening and supporting them through whatever she/he is feeling while you are with them.

Listen and let them know you hear their pain – not feel it, but actually hear it. Acknowledge their pain because when you connect with someone’s pain it makes them feel they are being supported.

A good statement to say to your friend at this stage could be;

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“What I’m hearing is that you are feeling ____. Is that right?”

Share how you truly feel – confused, lost for words, or struggling to know what to do.

Sharing your feelings with your friend demonstrates empathy and deepens your connection with them. Here are some examples of what you could say

“My heart hurts for you” ” I wish I could make it better for you”, “I just don’t know what to say”

When a friend opens up to you to share their pain, they are in a very vulnerable place. It shows that they trust you and it is important that you acknowledge this.

By expressing gratitude and thanking them for sharing with you demonstrates that you are a safe harbour for them.

The next step is to encourage by reaffirming the positive elements that you see in your friend.

Be careful not to say things like ” it will get better” or “this is what I would do”. Once you start making statements like this you are disconnecting from your friend and you are not being supportive in any way.

To be encouraging and positive, focus on sharing the qualities that you admire about your friend. Help your friend to see that they are amazing and worthy of love.

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Simple statements are the most powerful such as ” I love you”, “you are a warrior”, “I am proud of you”, “you matter so much to me” You are brave/courageous/brave”.

Understanding the power of words is hugely important when it comes to supporting a friend through a crisis. When you are truly committed to a friendship, then the words you use will demonstrate empathy, connection and love.

Final thoughts

Being a true friend is not that complicated, in fact it is very simple. All we have to do is follow the 3 strategies:

  • Make a commitment to the friendship
  • Demonstrate your commitment by taking action and be present with your friend in crises
  • Listen and support.

How hard can that be?

Knowing who you are as a true friend is key to your supporting friends through any crises they may face. Follow the 3 strategies and your true value as a friend will provide you with friendships that will last for life – a rare gift that is priceless.

“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood” — Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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