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Friend To Friend

When a friend has a problem, we want to offer helpful and supportive words. We want to help them feel better. Our intentions are well-meaning. We wish we could do more. Well, we can with three simple questions.

This friend to friend conversation is helpful. You are not a trained counselor; you are a friend helping a friend. You can also use the questions to help yourself resolve typical conflicts. This process allows a friend to take responsibility to work through their situation.

Many times we want to offer helpful suggestions, and it may or may not work out. The friend gets mad at you because the advice you gave made it their situation worse. Here is a simple process that will eliminate that occurrence.

Here's how to help a friend. Walk them through three simple questions. Recognize that your friend will do all the work and let them. When your friend tells you they have a pressing problem, you can say, "are you willing to work through it to find a solution?" Let them answer. If they say "yes," you can move forward. Then ask the first questions. In one simple sentence, answer this question, "what do you want?" This question is to help them be clear about what it is they want to see happen.

After they answer, move to the second question, "how do you feel about this?" Once again, let them identify how they feel about the situation. Are they sad? Hurt? Afraid? Angry? This process is challenging. But they must do it to find a solution.

Now, you can ask the third question, "what are you doing to get what you want?" Once again, ask them to answer in a simple sentence. This answer will help your friend look at what actions they are doing to get what they want. My experience reveals that most people fail to act. Nothing changes if we do not take action.

The practice of responding in a simple sentence helps your friend clarify what they want, how they feel, and what they are doing to solve their problem. It connects thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Once they finish answering, ask them to answer the three questions again, but they cannot use the same words they used the first time. This process is hard work but necessary.

When they finish answering the questions a second time, ask them to answer the questions again but use different words than those used the first two. It gets tough.

The process acts as a funnel. The wide part at the funnel's top is a chaotic soup of thoughts, feelings, and inaction your friend as you help a friend through this process and move them down through the small end of the funnel where your friend is clear about what they want, how they feel, and what friend is doing to get what they want.

Your friend will feel relief because they know what they want, what they feel, and what they need to do to solve their problem. Now comes the final question, "when will you do what you say you need to do to get what you want?"

Let your friend tell you when they will take action. It is their issue and their responsibility. You have helped your friend walk through a conflict resolution process, and now they must be responsible for taking actions.

The friend to friend process is for routine problems and not for serious issues like suicide. You indeed would not ask a friend who wants to end their life, "when will you do it?" Offer to go with them to talk with a trained professional. Then be a good friend and tell an adult about they told you about wanting to hurt themselves.

Remember, you are not a professional counselor but a friend helping a friend. Keep that in mind.

You can use these same three questions to solve issues in your life.

Pipeline-NU Breed cares about building good people. We become a healthier club when we learn how to help friends. Friend to Friend is a resource to help the athletes become better friends.

We are exploring ways to demonstrate the Friend To Friend process via video. Friend To Friend is a tool I learned years ago and have used it effectively to help people solve conflicts.


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