We all have great days when we want to shout happiness from a rooftop somewhere. We all have days that are neither wonderful nor terrible. Sometimes we have days that are Just Awful. As bad as it is when we have bad days, it is almost worse when a good friend has a bad day. We feel for them and want to help—but often we don’t know what to do or how to help her.
There are all different kinds of days we’d rather not repeat. Bad days range from the bad-hair-nail-chipped-spilled-the-coffee days to days when we get profoundly bad, unchangeable news. How you help your BFF is going depend on the kind of “bad” day she’s having and on her personality (and yours). Here are seven ideas for cheering up a girlfriend on a bad day.
Pick up the phone
Sometimes the simplest things can be the hardest. There are days when the phone feels like it weighs a thousand pounds. Usually it’s because we just don’t know what to say in the face of our friends troubles. Remember—this isn’t a stranger, this is your friend. Pick up the phone and call. I often find it useful to check with my friend to see what role she needs from me—is my job to help solve problems, to distract her and cheer her up, or just to listen.
Send a message
Or, rather than just send a message, why not send a link to a song? Choose a song that brings back happy memories for the two of you. Or send a song that makes people happy. (I have a friend who says it’s impossible to be sad when you listen to a Sousa march.)
Drop by to visit
Seeing a friendly face can sometimes make all the difference. Stop by to show your friend that there are still smiles in the world. Even if you only have five minutes (perhaps especially if you only have five minutes), that extra effort of showing up in person can make a huge impact.
Help her take action
Sometimes we are so stuck in a bad day that even breathing seems practically impossible. Often the best role you can play is to help your friend find a way to move through the rest of the day by taking action. Small steps lead to big results. So if your friend is overwhelmed by the idea of cleaning her entire home by the weekend, try to focus her on at least getting one room finished by the end of the day.
Take some of the burden
Lending a hand can be huge gift of friendship. Is your friend freaking out about picking up food and flowers on opposite sides of town at the same time? Why not offer to pick up the flowers for her. If she’s stressed about making and wrapping cookies for an event, why not spend some time in her kitchen helping and visiting.
Often the best thing we can do for a friend is simply be there to listen. Listen while she shares her day, listen as she works through her struggles, listen as she laments the twists and turns she’s facing. Leave the judgment, leave the solutions, and just listen with empathy and friendship.