Always check on your strong friends.

In the coming weeks remember your strong friends. Reach out to them with a simple “Hello, how are you?”. If you’re the strong friend and you’re finding yourself struggling, don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. That’s what friends are there for.

Why do we need to check on our friends even if they don’t check on us?

“When it’s cold and grey outside, getting people together to connect over a warming cuppa and a good conversation helps to make us feel better and manage the ups and downs of life.”

Samaritans, UK.

If you’ve ever played The Sims, then you’ll know the importance of social interaction. It’s extremely important in regard to our mental and social well-being. As social creatures, we need a certain amount of human interaction each day and without that loneliness can begin to set in. Our four-legged friends can also substitute, but sometimes it’s best to engage in human conversation.

I can think of no better way to start this post than by mentioning Samaritans #BrewMonday. It’s a movement that encourages us to get together and talk with not only our friends but our neighbors, family, colleagues, and even strangers. It encourages open lines of communication for difficult topics such as mental health and enables us to renew social interaction outside social media.

Kickstart your own get-together on any Monday in January, February, and beyond to help raise money for Samaritans. You can get your own free fundraising kit on their website, and invite your neighbors around for a cuppa.

Check out the fundraising kit here!

Image from Samaritans.

What I learned from checking in on my friends.

A month ago I took it upon myself to reach out to a friend of mine whom I hadn’t heard from in over a year. It wasn’t due to any relationship fall out, we simply lost touch through a combination of adulthood and ‘busyness.’ But my friend was always the type to post on social media and I was always guaranteed a complete rundown of nights out via Instagram.

That was until recently.

I’d noticed the slow decline of activity across a range of platforms and then, one week, there was radio silence. It’s not like I actively looked for this person in my stories every day, but their absence was painfully noticeable.

It started with a simple “Hello, it’s been a while and I just wanted to check in. You haven’t posted in a few days which isn’t like you. Is everything alright?”

Overbearing? Jumping to conclusions? Maybe. But their response displayed how out of touch we really are with each other.

“Thank you for taking the time to check up on me. To be honest I’ve been feeling like s*it lately. I don’t know where I’m going or what I’m doing with my life, and I really miss home. My roommates are going home for the holidays and I don’t have the money, so I’m just struggling with being alone.”

They went on to explain that no one else had bothered to contact them in weeks and that they felt hurt that even their closest friends had no idea. It’s a situation that I’ve found myself in quite a lot over the last year, and I couldn’t help but feel empathy toward them. From memory, they’d always had difficulty opening up. With that in mind, I offered to be their listening ear for the evening in the hope that I could do for them what so many had failed to do for me.

“This experience taught me a great deal about the importance of checking in on others.”

So often people withdraw because they’re struggling to tell others how they’re really feeling. Even the most confident of people can be brought down. In fact, it’s paramount that we remember our ‘stronger’ friends as they can be easily overlooked thanks to their resilience. When they go silent on socials or quiet around the table, that’s when we should be stepping in. Not only are we their friends, but chances are that we’ve also felt the same.

Let’s not forget the impact this can have on us. No action is without consequence, good or bad, and actively checking up on our friends can help us to feel better. Why? Because we’re doing something kind for another person, something so many others may have failed to do. By simply noticing a change and actively attempting to help, you could find yourself saving someone’s life.


How can we check on and help our friends?

A quick message or phone call.

We have so many ways of keeping in contact now. We can send a message or call via WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, or by using our phone network. Checking up on our friends has never been simpler!

It can be something as small as:

  • I was just thinking about you.
  • Hi. I haven’t heard from you in a while.
  • How are you?
  • Let’s meet for coffee.

They mightn’t respond, or at least not right away. Sometimes the burdens we carry can be so heavy that it makes any form of contact difficult. Alternatively, they may respond with a small “Thank you” but little else.

On the occasion that your friend responds actively wanting to speak to someone, then you have the responsibility to set your own boundaries. Are you available right now, or are you about to rush into a meeting? Can you fit them in this week for coffee, or will you be distracted by all the other things you have to do?

It’s important that you think of not only having time to speak with them but also having peace to do so. There is little point in offering to meet up and talk if you’ll be thinking about picking up the kids throughout the whole conversation. Ensure that you have the time to dedicate to listening before agreeing to be their rock.

Offering a listening ear.

Sometimes all we need is someone to listen. How often have you felt trapped with no one to turn to just to vent your thoughts? Although your friend may not be asking for what they need, you can let them know that you’re there to be their sounding board.

“I’m here to listen if you need it. I don’t have to respond or give advice if you don’t want me to, but I can help you unload your thoughts.”

Stigma has taught us that opening up isn’t a good thing. We shouldn’t burden others with our burdens because it’s apparently seen as ‘attention-seeking.’ It’s a phrase I have a lot of issues with, specifically in the barriers, it puts up against us asking for help.

Practical help.

Sometimes our friends can be isolated due to illness, lack of transport, working from home, looking after their kids, etc. No matter the reason, isolation and the inability to get what we need can be debilitating, and may even lead to concerns in regard to mental health.

If you’re aware that your friend has limited access to things such as groceries or social interaction, make an effort to give them practical help. Offer to take them to get their shopping, take the kids off their hands for a while, or even just take them out for a cuppa and a catch-up.

During summer 2019 I was isolated without transport for about three weeks. I’d limited access to a car, my partner was working and I couldn’t take public transport for a variety of reasons (one of which was limited access). My best friend knew this and made the effort to come down to take me out at least twice in those few weeks. Although seemingly minimal, this meant a lot to me. It meant I not only was able to fill my social quota, but it also removed me from a potential ‘cabin fever’ situation.


“Just because they carry it well doesn’t mean that it isn’t heavy.”

In the coming weeks remember your strong friends. Reach out to them with a simple “Hello, how are you?“. If you’re a strong friend and you’re finding yourself struggling, don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. That’s what friends are there for.

97 comments

  1. I every time spent my half an hour to read this web
    site’s posts all the time along with a mug of coffee.

  2. Important to keep in touch with your friends. Well written and thoughtful post.

  3. This is such a lovely post with a very important reminder. I am actually a lazy lad when it comes to checking on my friends but will do it for sure now onwards. Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I love your thoughts on checking on the people we view as strong. Sometimes there is so much hiding underneath the shell they present to us.

  5. I believe this too. Sometimes, we make a wrong judgment on how strong our friends are.

  6. So true. Checking up our friends sometimes is important no matter how messy and busy our everyday life. Thanks for sharing and reminding this.

  7. I agree with you. SOmetimes our friends who we think are strong are also holding a heavy burden. It will really help to check on them from time to time.

  8. I really value my friends and i always try every once in a while to reach out and see how they are doing. This is such an important part of life, thank you so much for preaching this message of love to the world, its timely

  9. Wooow this is so true and its deep. I always check on friends all the time. Its amazing how they don’t do the same back. I removed my instagram and they only realized 2 weeks later I closed it. I was like okay…. I realized who my friends are after I go ill.
    I can completely agree with this post. SHARING IT.

  10. You’re such a great friend ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for this reminder that, sometimes, a little can go a long way.

  11. Thank you so much for stopping in and reading. It’s nice to be checked on even if we are the strong ones. People often forget about us because we’re always offering help to others. I don’t feel like the strong friend but I’m certainly the one who dishes out therapy (when in reality I need it myself!).

  12. This is awesome, and so timely! I’ve been struggling with knowing how and when to reach out to people, sometimes thinking that it’s burdensome to them to do so. I mean, they’d reach out to me if they wanted to, right? Not so much. This post has been the little push I needed to just stop being “the strong one” and be more of the one who checks in on others. Thank you!

  13. This topic is so needed and you wrote it beautifully! I’ve been on that side of no one noticing that I was struggling because I hid it so well; I didn’t want to burden anyone. I’ve been trying to learn to reach out for help more; it’s hard.
    But from that personal experience especially, I try to be more mindful and check on my friends more, especially the “strong” ones.

  14. Soooooo true!! I feel like I may come off as one of those “strong friends” and typically I am, rose colored glasses, shrug off the small stuff kinda girl. But we all have our days where everything kinda builds up and we just wanna crawl into a corner. It’s nice be able to offer help to others, but also nice to be checked in on!!

  15. Oh definitely, I know what you mean. I still try and reach out when I can as I don’t want to be that person who’s all “well I’m not going to bother with them if they’re not bothering me!”

    Thank you so much, that really means a lot ???? โค๏ธ x x x

  16. Thank you so much for commenting. You 100% correct! It’s so important to check on our friends and it literally takes two seconds to send a wee text.

  17. It is so important that we check on our friends. It doesn’t take much to reach out, a simple text can take seconds to send but can mean the world to that person. It feels like in the world of social media we assume we’re “interacting” with our friends because we see their posts but its vastly different to actually having a conversation.

  18. That’s a very good text, as always! It’s sad, but we sometimes can feel lonely despite being surrounded by lots of people, who are not really interested in us as such. Everything is often quite shallow. It’s great to have ‘strong friends’ for sure. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. It can be so hard to maintain a realtionship during adulthood. Even harder to form new ones. We can feel like we’re being overly cautious or irritating by checking on people, but honestly I would love if more of my friends cared enough to just text me with a ‘Hi, How are you?’
    Thank you so much for stopping in and reading ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. I hope you’re continuing to feel better, even just a little. I’m sorry you felt like this. I’ve been left feeling like no one cares on numerous occasions and it’s awful!

  21. It’s lovely when someone surprises us out of the blue like that. Just when we think no one cares someone creeps out of the woodwork.
    Thank you so much for reading. x

  22. It’s lovely when our friends contact us, especially out of the blue. I understand life can be busy but it should never be too busy for the people we care about.
    Thank you so much for reading. x

  23. I’m so glad you had people contacting you and asking how you are. It’s lovely to know people are thinking of us! I’m so sorry you’ve had such an awful time lately. Sending you much love.
    And thank you so much for stopping in. x

  24. I agree with you regarding the strong silent can possibly be holding on to something. We just assume that they are okay when there is a great possibility that they are not. This is a great post and great tips for looking out for our friends.

  25. i stumbled upon this post earlier. and it hit me. it is really true! i love it when friends check up on me because most of the people really think i dont have problems at all. they just dont know..

    Cha at Little MisadvenCHA

  26. This made me think about my friends. I do have a few that I keep on checking on constantly but because we all live continents apart, it feels like the relationship is missing something.

  27. I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes they’re the ones who are too scared to reach out and see how you’re doing.

  28. This is such an important topic and I love that you shared this. I know the importance of this and I always try to make a point to check on my strong friends. Thank you for sharing your words on this.

  29. I feel the same. I don’t like to annoy people and then it just goes so long with no contact that it becomes awkward almost. But I’m trying to make more of an effort.
    Thank you so much for reading.

  30. I am so, so sorry to hear that. It’s a terrible thing to happen. Often the ones who seem the happiest or the strongest are feeling just as bad as the rest of us, if not worse. They’re the ones keeping the whole thing standing but in reality, they need someone to talk to just as badly.
    It really drives home the issue of people falling out of touch due to the rush-rush of today’s society.
    Thank you for reading, and I’m sending love to your friend at this difficult time. x

  31. That’s a lovely gesture! I try my hardest to check in on others when in reality barely anyone is doing the same for me.
    But if I can make even a little bit of a difference, then I want to.
    Thank you for reading. x

  32. There is nothing better than getting sat down together for a cup of coffee and a chat. I rely on time spent with my partner or friends just to do that.
    Thank you so much for reading! x

  33. I’m so sorry to hear that. It may not be easy for you to offer support, but I hope she is getting help in whatever way she can.
    Thank you for reading.

  34. I’m like that too. When I’m told ‘just come to me if you need to talk’ I usually file it under ‘need to do but will never do.’ It’s due in large to my upbringing where I’ll be seen as an annoyance or a burden if I reach out, so I don’t. It’s a horrible thing. I’ve been trying to reach out to more of my friends though, as I sometimes think it’s easy to isolate ourselves and, without meaning to, stop others who might want to ask us for help. If that makes sense?

    I’m so sorry you’re feeling like this and if it means anything I’m here if you need me. x

  35. I’ve come to realise over the last few months that I’m seen as ‘the strong friend’ and I’ve been struggling a fair bit over the last couple of weeks with my mental health – unfortunately I haven’t heard much from the people I’m usually there for. While I’ve always been told “let me know if you need to talk,” I think we all have that innate fear that we’ll be rejected if we reach out and say we’re struggling. Sometimes it makes it so much easier to open up if someone comes to you first. Ultimately I’m still struggling but I’m too chicken to send a message in case I’m a burden. Thank you for sharing this – never underestimate the importance of a simple “how are you!” xx

  36. I love my best friend but I can see now that she is a little bit depressed. After she got pregnant she put on weight and her merriage life is not the same so I always try to catch up with her even if I’m far away

  37. This is so interesting and informative! It is also so well written! I think itโ€™s important that we all read this! We all go through ups and downs!

  38. This is great. People who call themselves a friend really should be doing these things for their people. There are too many fake or superficial ‘friends’ out there that say all the right words but don’t follow up with any action. I guess it is a condition of our ‘rush-rush’ society nowadays, but it doesn’t make it right. Taking time to have a cup of coffee (or other quality time spent) with a friend and really listening to them is rewarding for both involved.

  39. This is a really valuable reminder for all of us.It is important to check in good friends and to keep connection with them.

  40. I would not mind doing this full-time all over the world seeing that I have friends located globally. I will literally check in on 300 friends every year just because I can.

  41. This is such an informative article. We all have our ups and downs every now and then, and knowing that thereโ€™s always someone there to talk to can have a huge impact.

  42. This blog post comes at an interesting time because a friend of mine just texted me yesterday telling me that one of her friends (who she was out with the day before and seemed so happy) killed him self that evening and she had just found out. She told me he was such a happy person and she couldn’t tell anything was wrong AT ALL, so she is in complete shock but it was a good reminder for her and everyone he knew to check in to make sure everyone is okay.

  43. I’ll admit that I have a problem with checking in on my friends. I always get concern that I may be disturbing them. But most of my friends will directly tell me whats going on in their lives and will vent to me rather than hide it or bottle it up

  44. I always talk to my friends and keep in touch with them every now and then. I don’t allow being busy distance us.

  45. This describes my life exactly right now. I have had a few people contact me and ask me how I am doing. But many of the people that I thought really cared for me are long gone almost overnight. It has been a very tough year and a half and I have largely felt invisible but unable to put myself out there. So for now I hang out with my sons and work while I try to put my life back together. And that has brought me great joy in the middle of sadness.

  46. Thank you for this. I’m the strong sibling in my family that takes care of the others and I’m the baby! While I don’t mind most of the time I recently had to fill out a form with an emergency contact and realized I couldn’t use my brother or my sister which left me feeling whose taking care of me?

  47. Thank you for sharing knowledge on this topic. I’m the strong one amongst my friends. People assume I’m okay which I am for the most part but it’s nice to have friends that actually care and check on on.

  48. I think #brewmonday is such a good idea. I am guilty at being sporadic with contacting people. Life is busy and sometimes overwhelming.
    But I know they know they can call on me anytime.

    I recently realised that as Iโ€™ve always been the strong friend, people stopped checking in on me quite quickly after mum passed away. There was contact of course but it was day to day stuff.
    I realised I needed someone to ask about me, really ask, ask how Iโ€™m coping But time changes things and people move on.

    I really feel this post, thank you ????

  49. Recently I was having a really hard time. I felt like I didn’t have friends and that no one cared for me.
    Out of the blue, an old friend messaged me. It was a simple hello, but it really made the difference in how I was feeling.
    I make it a point now to reach out to people. Sometimes I feel weird or like I’m a nuisance, but I’d rather someone know I’m here.

    This is a great, great post and I’m so glad you’ve shared it. A lot of the time people talk about checking up on friends, but it’s hard to tell if anyone actually is. So this is a great reminder to people.

    I’ll be sure to check out Samaritans. I’ve never heard of them before, but it seems interesting!

  50. This is so true! Recently, there was a case of a journalist in my home country. She used to be very famous a few years ago. Now she was working in a different department, but still had a job. She died in her home and it took two weeks for someone to notice she was gone… for someone to look at whatsapp and see she hasn’t been online in days…. for someone to notice she didn’t go to work anymore or that she didn’t post on Facebook anymore…. It’s so sad! We think we are surrounded by people, but the reality is that we are so lonely…

  51. Yes, I try to be sure to do this. I can be an introvert though, but I try to always check to make sure everyone is doing okay. You just never know.

  52. I have always given myself, sometimes too much, to whom I believed to be a friend, however, as you say, without perhaps doing it in the right way. To those who can be considered “strong friends”, but when this happens, everything is easier.

  53. This is an absolutely beautiful post, and a reminder that going out of our way to check on friends can have a bigger impact than we think. Especially those strong friend who you just assume are fine. Thank you for sharing these tips and tricks for taking care of friends in need.

  54. Such a great post! I have this really tough friend who always seemed so confident and cheerful and then one day she came to me and just broke down. People often tend to overlook that strong people have emotions too.

  55. Very insightful post. As an introvert, I’m usually fiercely independent and I prefer being left alone but hearing from friends really cheer me up. This post has prompted me to check on my friends, who also happen to be as independent as I am lol. Thank you!

  56. What an excellent post! How important it is to look out for each other. Even the strongest amongst us are susceptible to depression, anxiety and inner turmoil and itโ€™s so easy to forget that the putter doesnโ€™t always reflect the inner of the person xxx

  57. As the one often called “the strong friend”… just showing you care by sending a message could mean so much!! We want to know that we’re appreciated and loved and matter. But we rarely ever say that out loud.

    Great post!

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