Guest Post – Niki Robinson, Robinson Writers

When someone you care about (whether personally or even professionally) is going through a difficult time in his or her life, it’s important to show you care. That person probably needs your support more now than ever before. So it’s important to show them you’re available to help and that you’re there if and when you might be needed—even when that’s sometimes hard to do. Maybe you don’t know exactly how to express your feelings. Maybe you don’t know if the time is right. And maybe you expect the other person to ask you for help, so you don’t reach out a hand on your own.

So how do you reach out to someone who’s right around the corner, but feels a million miles away?

Nora is going through a difficult time, as you can see by her recent posts Live Your Masterpiece, Delegate and De-Stress and now with the death of her mother. I thought it might be nice to take the worry of writing this week’s post out her hands, so she can focus on more important matters. It’s the least I can do, seeing as I live about 1,000 miles away,

So how do you show someone you care from afar, if you can’t be there in person?

Here are some simple, little things you can do to help someone in need—whether you’re close by or far away…

Caring When You’re Close By

  • Offer to Help with Errands
    • Those little errands that are a regular part of day-to-day life can become tiring or overwhelming in trouble times. Even if it’s just offering to help straighten up the house or get the mail or pick up the dry cleaning—every little bit helps.
  • Cook Dinner or Bring Lunch
    • Even the heartiest appetites are no match for trying times. Offer to whip up a quick, reheatable dinner, or stop by with a sack lunch. Keeping your stomach full can help keep your head on straight .
  • Take a Walk/Be a Listener
    • For most of us, talking about the situation we’re in can help us process what is happening, and help us keep our minds in order. Offer to help your struggling friend take a break and get outside to walk and talk a bit. And this walk and talk isn’t about your comforting words. Instead, be a listener: let your friend talk as little or as much as they need to. Provide hugs as needed.

Friend From Afar

  • Say Hello
    • Pick up the phone and reach out. Start the conversation by saying something like, “Just checking in to see if you needed someone to talk to right now.” Again, your job here is to be a good listener. Pay attention: maybe they don’t feel like talking at the moment you call. If so, ask when might be a good time to call back and be sure to express that you’re available by phone whenever needed.
  • Drop a Note
    • With our ever-connectedness today through social media, there’s no excuse not to drop a quick note via Facebook or on someone’s website or email—even a quick Tweet might do the trick. However, USE CAUTION. Sometimes people want privacy; so don’t go blabbing about someone’s personal affairs online, unless it’s clear they’re looking for support and feedback in that medium! For example, IF they are posting a lot about their situation on Facebook, by all means, leave a comment—maybe something like, “You’re in my thoughts!” More personal notes can be sent privately via email.
  • Offer to Help Professionally
    • Perhaps you have a skill set that might be of particular use to your friend on a professional level. For example, maybe they hadn’t thought to set up an automatic email response alerting others their emails may not be returned immediately due to personal circumstances. Think about your skill set and what you might be able to offer. Small business owners and entrepreneurs will especially appreciate this type of help.

Whether close by or far away, sometimes the best thing you can do is to ask, ‘How Can I Help?’ Sometimes even the strongest of us have a hard time asking for help. Maybe there’s something you could do that you haven’t even thought of yet.

The important thing is to reach out in some way. When you do, you might be surprised to find just how many people reciprocate that help and support when YOU need it most!

Niki Robinson of Robinson WritersNiki Robinson is a wild word wrangler, urban explorer, and overall nerd working in Milwaukee, WI.  As owner of Robinson Writers, she most enjoys the privilege of connecting with so many interesting people and the challenge of writing their unique voices, ideas and experiences.  She is also Co-Founder and Director of Operations of the only free writers conference in the Midwest, WriteCamp Milwaukee.  You can connect with Niki at or