Unless it is carefully worded, advice can offend despite your good intentions. What's hurtful, what's helpful…

Hurtful: You should. If you tell your friend he should get out of that marriage, he may get angry if this isn't what he wants to hear or feel pressured if he's not ready to follow through.

Helpful: Ask questions that encourage clarification of facts and feelings such as, "If you left, where would you go?" and "How would the kids react?” This helps elicit your friend's choice—at which point your suggestions for implementing that decision will be appreciated.

Hurtful: "I had that problem. If you interrupt a friend's story I felt a lump in my breast Once too.. she feels alone because you're not focusing on her.

Helpful: Ask for details and offer practical assistance—”When is your biopsy May I drive you? Only after discussing your friend's situation completely should you share your experience and counsel.

Hurtful: “You’ll get over it. To move past a problem, a person must face up to it, not avoid it. If a friend loses his job, and your automatic response is "Stop fretting you will find something better ask yourself why. Are you too worried about your own job security to think about another's situation

Helpful: Allow your friend to fully voice the hurt—afterward you'll both feel more ready to explore opportunities that lie ahead.

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