Make a Connection: Ways to Be There When People Need You

It’s the stuff the strongest friendships are made of: supporting each other through good and bad, being grateful for the gifts we’ve been given, and helping each other heal.

No one just becomes an expert at getting through life. But with lots of experience, some helpful advice, and plenty of grace, we figure it out together.

We’ve collected tips from people who’ve learned through love. Here, Hallmark Writer Jake Gahr, Program Leader Deanna Munoz, and Editorial Director Pamela De La Fuente share their tips for offering support, expressing gratitude, and healing.

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Support strengthens minds and bodies.  

“I feel like saying anything (in kindness) is better than saying nothing. Even when someone just checks in, it can make all the difference.” —Jake Gahr, Hallmark Writer

We can’t do it alone. It takes a community of friends, family and coworkers to live our best lives. Jake says struggling with anxiety and depression has given him greater empathy for others going through difficult times.

Here are tips to offer support—to foster strong relationships.

  • Listen! Just lending an ear is truly enough. You don’t have to “fix” anything.
  • Pick an unexpected moment to say hi. The surprise will mean so much and let them know you’re always there for them.
  • Let them know you’re thinking of them. Include them in plans, even when you’re sure they’ll say no.
  • If they’re feeling up for a visit, make something delicious and bring it over. Sharing food is a simple and comforting way to spend time together.
  • When all else fails, HUGS!

For more ideas about supporting people you care about, read our tips for supporting someone through a difficult time, ways to make more time for relationships, and practical ways to be more caring.

Gratitude is the heart’s memory.  

“Give back what you have been blessed with, whether that is mentoring someone or volunteering within your community. Pay it forward.”
—Deanna Munoz, Hallmark Program Leader

We have so much to be thankful for. Our health, happiness and relationships make life worthwhile and fill us with joy. Deanna says that spreading positive messages and personal inspiration are key ways to stay positive and show gratitude for the “amazingness” within everyday experiences.

Here are tips to give gratitude—especially to those who need it:

  • Feeling grateful? Buy a coffee for someone. Donate clothes to charity. Do a good deed. Be empathetic.
  • Increase the good vibes. Give someone a genuine compliment or congratulations every day and share the joy.
  • Is there a cause you believe in? Show up! Your time is one of the most valuable and rewarding things you can give.
  • Smile more!  Smiling has been proven to benefit wellness. Show people you’re grateful for them with a big smile.
  • Say, “Thank You.” Let someone know you appreciate them with a card, note, gift, or even a public shout-out.

Find more ways to show appreciation, learn to write a great thank-you note, or even send a long-overdue message of gratitude—it’s never too late!

Healing is a commitment to love.  

“After the funeral, the visitors kind of dry up—that’s when it all really comes crashing down on you. It’s important that people still know they are supported.”
—Pamela De La Fuente, Hallmark Editorial Director

Everyone has struggles to overcome—injury, illness, loss of loved ones—and people need healing to cope and keep going. Pamela learned that grieving can be ongoing. Letting someone know you’re there for them can help with the healing process, no matter how long it takes.

Here are tips to provide healing—when life gets rough:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions—it’s a good way to help someone understand emotions that are hard to verbalize.
  • Feel free to just pitch in! Helping out with little things like running errands, dropping off a meal, taking out the trash, or driving someone to an appointment can make a big difference.
  • Together time doesn’t have to be an event. A quick 5-minute check-in can let someone know you care.
  • Healing is a process. It’s okay to keep saying, “I’m sorry. I’m here for you,” for as long as they need to hear it.
  • Don’t forget to spread a little joy. Sending a happy note, a surprise gift, or inviting them to a fun experience can add happiness to their healing.

Here’s some help with messages to write in notes to express sympathy or offer encouragement.