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Weekly Doses of Pop-up Psych

We all make cringey mistakes and deserve to move on, rather than feel confused or regretful after an icky social situation. Each week, I will dissect a murky social, life cycle, or pop culture topic to help you understand, learn, and move on. As a former academic, I am a super-picky consumer of research (and you should be too) as well as the content I create and share, so those new solutions, data and/or additional resources have certainly met my approval.

How to Provide Support When You Lack the Power to Fix It: Practical Strategies

It’s incredibly tough when someone you care about is struggling. People have health issues, relationship problems, losses, mistakes, and setbacks, which hurts the people who care about them. Unless you have a super power that could actually cure cancer or erase a bad decision, we are powerless; since there is nothing we can do. We can still support, even if we don’t have a solution.

It's not about you


Just because you can’t relate, understand, or even know what’s actually going on, doesn’t mean you can’t support them.The focus is on getting them through something. It’s only natural to feel helpless when you can’t solve someone’s else’s problem, but you can still show them love and support.

Support others when you can’t fix it by minding your own business

Maybe they know something they can’t share yet.  They could still be sorting it out, embarrassed, or simply not ready to talk about it. Whatever it is, respect their silence and don’t harass or pry for answers.  You will learn the situation when they are ready to talk. In the meantime, just love them.

Support others when you can’t fix it by listening without giving advice

A non-judgmental ear that’s always available when someone needs to vent or process solutions. Only give advice when asked.  Your friend might have an entirely different set of variables, circumstances, and resources, so your solution might not work for them.  Just listen.

helping hand

Support others when you can’t fix it  by letting them know you are there

“Being there” is indeed a broad term, but includes keeping their secrets, showing up, and giving them your undivided attention when you are with them in real life, like putting down your phone. Calling them via phone or video as well as supportive texts and memes can go a long way.


Support others when you can’t fix it with niceties

Actions speak louder than words. It doesn’t cost much to show your support.  Whether it’s their favorite thing, a note with a pep talk, sharing crops from your garden, or homemade food, a little surprise can go a long way in helping someone feel validated and nurtured.


Support others when you can’t fix it by helping them with responsibilities and errands

Most people claim to be busy. When someone is going through something, there is no better gift than the gift of extra time for them to take care of themselves. Whether it’s child care, picking up groceries, or walking their dog, lightening their loads to give them a little nugget of self care can be priceless. Teaching someone else’s kid minor life skills like helping with laundry can be another priceless gift.


Support others when you can’t fix it by being extra patient

Pain certainly brings out the worst in everybody. They might be in survival mode and not seem grateful for your support at the moment, but they will certainly remember who was there to help them get through it.


Support others when you can’t fix it with faith and prayer


Fifty-five percent of adults said to have a daily prayer ritual. You don’t have to be religious to have faith. The gift of prayer can be free and private on your own terms or public through paying a small donation to a synagogue, church, mosque, or other house of worship for someone to be acknowledged in a service. 

What does this mean to you?


What do you need when you are going through a stressful period?  

How can you be better at supporting Your People?

Hi Beautiful Readers and thank you for reading this! I'm Dr. Joanne Broder, Media Psychologist, Author, and Fellow of the American Psychological Association. Please consider me to help you write your memoir, blogs, speeches, e-books, as well as coach you on your dissertation or thesis.  Click here so we can connect!

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