A solid friendship is born when you can help the other person in need, and the can do the same for you. Learn to be a friend in need and you will strengthen your relationships.

You don’t know how strong a friendship really is until it is tested. The classic test a friendship encounters is related to the need for help. Essentially, when a person needs help from another one, depending on how this later person will react, their friendship will either become stronger or weaker.

Considering this, it’s important to be a good friend in need in order to consolidate your relationships. This is easier said than done, as many people don’t really understand what to do in order to be a friend in troublesome situations. Here are my guidelines to help you with this.

Listen First, Advise Second

When a person has a problem or struggles with something, if they see you as their friend, it’s probable that they’ll talk to you about it and share their predicament with you.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that when this happens, what they should do is act as the expert and give the other person some advice, in order to help them solve their problem. But you see, you’re not an expert and the other person doesn’t want from you first and foremost to tell them what to do.

What your friend wants in the first place is to give them your attention and consideration. They want you to listen to them empathetically. Just talking about their issues and having someone listening to them will help them feel better and start seeing new ways of dealing with their issues.

It’s only after you’ve listened fully that you may provide a few ideas on how to get the situation handled. But you don’t want to play the expert. You just want to share some of your ideas or experiences, and detail what you would consider doing in their situation.

Ask How You Can Help and Then Help

Besides listening, a good friend provides practical help to the other person when in need. Once you get a clear idea of the other person’s struggle by listening, ask them how you can help. You’re doing this so you make it clear that you do want to aid them and you can find specific ways to do so.

The biggest challenge in truly helping another person is that it requires time, energy and sometimes other resources. So when you’re helping a friend, you’re in fact using your resources for them, when you could be using them for yourself.

Whether you’re helping a friend paint the house, do some shopping, solve a conflict or you’re borrowing them some money, these all involve using your resources for another person. Obviously, in order to do so, you need to realize the value of your friendship and you need to look at this as a long-term investment.

If your friendship has value, then helping the other person is a way to solidify your relationship and will also provide benefits for you. In a way, it’s a win-win situation and this is why helping a friend in need makes sense.

On the other hand, you do want to recognize those friendships that are simply not worth investing in. Some people can be like leeches: they keep asking, but they never reciprocate. Such a friendship is like a one way street and it is typically not worth walking on it.

In the long-term, cultivating friendships that prove beneficial and satisfying for both persons involved is the recipe to a successful and fulfilling social life.

Author's Bio: 

Eduard Ezeanu is a communication coach specializing in social success. If you enjoyed this article, also discover how to start a conversation and learn how to make small talk from two first-class articles on his People Skills Decoded blog.