How to Help a Hurting Friend

How to Help a Hurting Friend

Maybe I talk about hurt too much. Maybe I’ve mentioned depression and stress and anxiety and failure so often that I sound like I need serious help.


If I do, I’m sorry.


But we can’t ignore pain.


As I sit here at my computer, I’m gazing out the window at the wet earth around me.

It’s been raining for days. A bone-chilling draft penetrates my skin, enough so that nothing warms me, not even my cup of coffee, and my beef stew is long-since hot.


Sometimes, that’s what hurt feels like, whether it’s mental, emotional, or physical.


It’s uncomfortable, and not something easily shaken away. Pain lingers, with no button to press or Band-Aid to put on to make it all better.


I’ve been on both sides of hurt. I’ve had friends in need, and I myself have had times like those as well.


Perhaps you’re mainly on the other side of things; watching friends suffer, and not knowing how to help them. Or maybe you’re the hurting one. Maybe people see you in need of help and ask, “What can I do for you?” and you simply respond, “Nothing, I’m good,” with a fake smile plastered on, reminiscent of Barbie.


But no matter how strong we are, or at least how strong we pretend to be, we’re all weak on the inside. We all need people around us to support us and help us to heal.


Are you wondering how to help a hurting friend? Here are three ways.


Pray For Them.


There’s nothing more beautiful and powerful than prayer. When a friend tells you, “I’ve been praying for you,” it’s touching. To think that someone would take the time to implore the Creator of the universe on our behalf is one of the kindest things we can hear.

Yes, because it’s a thoughtful gesture, but more so because we know that prayer works. Perhaps not always in the fix-it-quick way we might think, but in the way that God knows is best.


Sometimes, I can feel that someone’s been praying for me, when a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I just feel free.

It’s a blessing to get a text a little while later, saying, “Hey Amanda, I prayed for you today. How are you doing?”




James 5:16

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”


Stay With Them.


It’s almost hypocrisy to flee upon finding out someone’s aching, after promising to be there for them.


It’s easy to walk out of a friendship when the person’s fallen into difficult days, for it requires no energy on our part.

But please, I beg of you, if you want to help your hurting friend, stick by them. Stay alongside them when they tell you they’re “fine.” Don’t judge them when they refuse help – sometimes, they’re just testing you to see if you’ll remain by their side, because it’s what they really need.


Don’t give up on your friend. Forgive them if they’ve damaged your friendship. Keep loving them, even when they act like they don’t want to be loved. Trust me, they do.


Proverbs 17:17

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”


Galatians 6:2

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”


Encourage Them.


Encouragement is incredible. It has an innate power to keep us running when we want to give up. It inspires us to push on toward our goals. It motivates us to get out of bed in the morning because we know we are cared for.


Whether sharing Bible verses, sweet, comforting words, sending a care package or letter, or just letting someone know that they’re not alone, encouragement of all kinds is a blessing.


To your hurting friend (or perhaps even you), it may mean the world.


And don’t give up. Keep encouraging them and lavishing the love of Christ on your friend.


1 Thessalonians 5:11

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”



22 Replies to “How to Help a Hurting Friend”

    1. Thank you! ❤
      That's a good thing. Friendship is hard, honestly, especially when you don't feel appreciated. But it means so much to people when we want to be there in their times of need.


  1. These are great suggestions. I love how you pointed out that praying for someone is not only great because it feels nice to be thought of, but because it actually works. I read something once that said something along the lines of, “People may refuse our love or reject our message, but they are defenseless against our prayers.” It stuck with me because at the time, I was dealing with someone who, despite my best efforts to show love and support, rejected anything I tried to do. But that didn’t mean I wasn’t able to do anything. I could still pray, and pray I did.

    I also love your point about encouragement. There’s nothing I love using my words for more than encouraging someone else. It makes my day to know that God used me to make someone else’s day!

    This is such an awesome post because a lot of times, I can get discouraged and think there’s nothing I can do to help someone. But really, there is, and this is a great reminder. 🙂


    1. Also, your post reminded me of that post I keep mentioning that was the first one I wrote for my blog, but hadn’t shared yet. So I published it. 🙂


    2. That’s a really cool quote. It’s tough to try to encourage people who seemingly disregard and reject the help we desperately want to offer – but what I didn’t put in the post but meant to say, is that we aren’t people’s savior. Only Jesus is. We can’t save our hurting friends, we can only point them to Him. And I think that’s such a freeing thought.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Twinsie! ❤


  2. This was so encouraging Amanda! I have a friend and we used to email each other regularly, but in the past six months, she stopped sending any or answering mine. I don’t really know what happened, except that she hinted her family was going through some “life changing things” and I also got the feeling that she was a little uncomfortable any time I mentioned God. I didn’t really know what to do, and frankly, I was kind of hurt. But I keep praying for her, and occasionally letting her know I am still here for her. Hopefully one day we can “be friends” again. 🙂 Thanks for writing Amanda! If you couldn’t tell, I really love your blog! 😉 Definitely my favorite inspirational blog! God bless you!


    1. Thank you for sharing your story! ❤
      That must be quite hard. I know about tumultuous friendships, and they're not always pretty. Many times, it's hard (and near impossible) to be there for a friend that pushes you away. Keep on praying, girl! Good for you.

      Your favorite inspirational blog? Oh my goodness, that means oh so much to me! Thank you so much – you're so sweet.
      Thanks for your comment, Sarah Grace! I am always so grateful when I see someone has taken the time to leave one.


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