How to Help Friends
It can be stressful when a friend comes to you for help and you’re not sure how to help them! Luckily, there are four easy things to do and remember to help a friend in an abusive dating relationship! Your friend obviously trusts and believes in you enough to come to you for help – now try your best to be there and support them!
1. Remember that Relationships are Complex
Relationships are complex, whether they’re dating relationships, family relationships, or friendships. People stay in abusive relationships for many different reasons: because they’re in love, because they feel responsible for the abuse, because they blame themselves, because they hope that bad parts will go away and the good parts will stay – and many more.
Though you may feel like you know the “easy” or “right” answer for your friend, you have to remember that your friend is the expert in their life and will make the decision that they feel is best for them (Remember the Friends Wheel!). It can be hard, but respect their decision and find other ways to support them.
There are also barriers for people who want to get help. It’s important to keep all of this in mind when talking to a friend.
2. Use the Friend Wheel
The Friend Wheel goes through many different ways that you can help a person who is in an abusive situation. Find out more here.
3. Provide Resources
One of the barriers to getting help is not knowing where to go for help. That is why it’s important that you know how to find and suggest resources in your community for your friend. Even if they do not use them, it’s better to be prepared in case they decide to.
One good resource is the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474. This is a 24-hour hotline that you do not have to give your information to. Loveisrespect.org is also a great place to go online for help, information, and resources.
To find more resources that could help you or a friend, see our Resources page!
4. Stay Connected or Reconnect
People who abuse tend to isolate their dating partner from friends and family so that they will be with them more. This controlling behavior leave the survivor of abuse disconnected from friends and family, which can make them feel even more alone.
It’s important to keep in contact with your friend and that they don’t become isolated. Even though this can be hard, it’s important that they remember that they still have you as a friend and support network. Let them know that if they need help or want to talk, they can come to you.