Here are some actual tips from CU students on what they found helpful when their friends talked with them with regards to alcohol and drug use.
This was extremely important in the eyes of CU students. If they had a friend who lived a healthy and active lifestyle, they were more likely to listen and trust their advice.
Offering to help a friend is often received better than trying to force someone into accepting help or doing something they are not prepared to do. Students who have received help expressed a desire for a friend to extend a hand that they knew would be there when they needed it. This is done with compassion, care and patience – it may take time for your friend to accept your help or recognize that they need it. Letting them know you are there for them when they need it can go a long way. While you do this, be sure to set appropriate boundaries with your friend too. For example, “I’m there for you as long as you don’t do what you did the last time you got drunk. That’s not OK with me.”
Students really appreciated their friend’s support if it was genuine. They could tell if their friends actually were concerned and cared about them rather than trying to do a “good deed” or judging their behavior.
This means coming with a friend to get help, checking in with the friend often, and being supportive even when things get rough.
It is important to understand that with drugs and alcohol it is hard to see immediate results. Having unrealistic or extremely high expectations can be harmful and ineffective in helping your friend. No matter how much you want to help your friend, their actions and choices are ultimately up to them alone. It is important to remember this when you are reaching out to a friend.