In recent weeks, I have interacted with several people who are at the end of their rope. They are frustrated beyond words. They are in situations that seem to have no solutions. They have tried everything and nothing seems to be working.
They don’t feel like they are being hard. And they certainly don’t feel appreciated and valued. How can we help our friends when they are at the end of their rope? Here a few ideas.
• When a person reaches the end of their rope, they will act totally out of character. Stress does funny things to us. It causes us to say and do things we would not ordinarily say and do! Calm and rational people start a verbal sparring match. Non-confrontational individuals totally go off on someone. People under stress will act opposite of their personality type. If we can recognize the cause of such behavior, it becomes easier to extend the rope of someone who is struggling.
• When a person is at the end of their rope, there is a tendency to withdraw. It is often a very subtle change in behavior, and so it goes unnoticed for a long time. It is important to acknowledge that such an individual does not have the energy to reach out to people that just might be a source of encouragement. It is our responsibility to go to that person and ask them to spend time with us. Ask them to lunch. Buy an extra ticket to a ballgame and extend the invitation. Include them in a hunting trip you are planning, etc. I realize such actions may not be the cure-all, but it makes a huge difference to someone who could even be facing some level of depression.
• A person at the end of their rope is vulnerable. The wrong person could come along at that time in their life. That is how extra-martial affairs are inappropriate relationships get started. A close friend’s ability to be perceptive enough to recognize that the rope is getting is getting shorter could make a huge difference.
I am very fortunate. I have a wonderful circle of friends. When my rope gets short, those closest to me extend it as needed. But I want to do the same for those I care about as well. During these past few weeks I have been reminded of the importance of being proactive. I must be alert to the concerns of those close to me and try to act when I can.
I am curious what you do to reach out to your friends when they are at the end of their rope. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or shoot me a message on facebook. Share your ideas. What do you do when your friends are at the end of their rope? What works? What have you found helpful? I would like to write more on this subject. Thanks! -John