How Can I Help?

Thursday, July 18, 2019
Let's sit down and chat. I already have a cup of deliciously strong coffee, and I'll get comfortable while you run and grab your favorite beverage from the kitchen. Would you like sweet tea? Lemonade? Coffee?

Let's sit in the comfy chairs with the thick cushions - no rush - I'm glad you're here.

Have you ever thought about our friendship? More than how we met. I mean, what makes us friends? Recently my husband pointed out how people are always dropping in to chat. I teased and said they just like my coffee and cookies. Though my cookies ARE delicious... I've come to the conclusion there's one thing I say that helps draw people in. Here's a typical scenario and you can see for yourself:

Ring Ring

Crystal: "Hello, this is Crystal."
Amber: "Hey - are you home?"
Crystal: "Sure am - you stopping over?"
Amber: " If you don't mind. I'll be right over."

If there's no coffee left in the pot, I'll start a new pot and put out some snacks or pastries. We have a policy here at our house where you just walk right in.

Amber: "That coffee smells great - I'm exhausted."
Crystal: "Here's a hug and a cookie too - now, how can I help?"

The key to being a good friend is not found in the cookie, coffee or the open door policy - it's right there in those magical words:


This simple phrase open the door to a deeper and more meaningful friendship. Very seldom does a friend respond asking for advice or money. Do you know what people want? They want someone to listen. By the time they're done explaining the situation, they've usually come up with a plan on their own. At the very least, they feel better because they've gotten the words out of their head and I can share the burden with them.

I don't know anything about domestic violence, childhood cancer, changing the oil, and the list goes on. I don't have thousands of dollars sitting on the counter waiting to be shared. There's so much I don't know and don't have, but I DO know a little something about listening and somehow listening and helping are closely intertwined.

The next time someone comes to you feeling stressed, tired, or overwhelmed, give it a try. Instead of agreeing with them as so many times we do, try and ask them "How can I help?" The conversation will go much differently. If a friend complains about a busy spouse and you join in the conversation by talking about how your spouse does the same this or that as well, you'll both leave the conversation just as frustrated (possibly even more frustrated) than you were when you began. If you ask how you can help, the tone of the conversation heads toward chatter about a solution instead of additional banter about the problem. When we share our burdens with a friend, we feel lighter. When a friend walks in with a frown and out with a smile, I feel I've done my job as a friend.

What do you say to help a friend in need? What has someone said to you that helped you through a tough situation or period in your life?

Crystal is a secretary, council secretary, financial secretary, and musician at her church, birth mother, Auntie, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and their five youngest children (Carmen 13, Andre 11, Breccan 5, Delphine 4, and baby Eudora who will be 2 in a few months), two dogs, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns and horses, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at her personal blog - Crystal is dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade!


Tom Crepeau said...

I'm a guy, and I regularly point out I can't help if no one asks. I also TELL PEOPLE when I help someone else so they know I'll help them, too (also to let them know when people in our community are going through distressing times). I also do my best to support friends who're helping someone I'm in no position to help. (sometimes because I'd never put up with the whiny-ass person needing help AGAIN that I'd never give.) Nevertheless, I support friends doing that help, primarily by listening to them and encouraging help-givers to share and to talk). Don't forget when a friend is helping others to help them, too! We're all members of different communities, folks. Do your best!

Connie Koehler said...

Hi Crystal. Great point and great question. My friend and I are always lifting each other and reminding each other positive ways of looking at things. Either one of us will call and ask how we're doing because we really want to know if the problem was solved and happiness is in the air.

She and I are on the same frequency, sort of speak. It is so nice to have someone to connect with. I will tell her a problem I'm having and she seems to always sympathize with me first before she gets into the try this method or say this or be thankful for that and so on. I do the same for her. We always feel better after talking to each other. I am blessed to have her in my life and I tell her this OFTEN.

I want to share with you that my dad was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1936. He used to be in charge of my grandparents chickens, feeding, egg collecting, etc. And, if they decided to have a chicken dinner, Dad was the man to see. I have a picture of my dad in their chicken pen. I'll have to post it some day.

AND, I have to share, although it may be silly, I noticed the coffee cup in the photo to this post. My mom has one exactly like it. I love it.

Thank you for sharing.

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