How to Help a Friend Solve a Problem

PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION

Helping your friend solve their problem will let them know that you are there to support them in their decision and that they are being heard. The following are helpful tips on how to help them help themselves.

Assess what your friend needs at the moment.

Are they seeking guidance in decision-making?
Are they just needing to process thoughts and feelings and to feel understood and supported?

Breathe

If your friend seems anxious, it will be helpful to take a few moments to relax.
We exercise clearer judgment and make better decisions when we are calm and relaxed.

Break decision down into problem-solving steps.

Identify information needed to make the decision
Clarify your friends goals, values, interests, needs, and desires
List options and alternatives
Weigh the pros and cons and explore compromises

Finally,

Help your friend recognize that the decision is theirs alone
Recognize that there is seldom a single “right” answer
Avoid false reassurances

Source

Information from Andrea Iglesias, Psy.D. , Basic Helping Skills ppt.