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The 5 Types of Friends You Need When Your Mental Health Is Declining

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One of the hardest things to do in order to heal is reach out to others; however, this is a crucial piece of stepping forward — we can’t do it alone. Friends play a vital role in determining our sense of self. We are shaped by those who influence us, both in our past and present. Even friendships which have faded over time still carry over into the people we are now. When we are struggling with our mental health, it’s especially important to resist isolation and spend some quality time with the following individuals:

A Motivator

This is someone who knows you inside out. This person knows who you are, who you want to be and can help you develop a clear path from one to the other. This friend is practical, patient, driven, leads by example and often shows love and support through acts of service, helping you to get back on track. It’s important to be open with this friend, as they are most likely to inspire you to set and reach attainable goals.

A Wise Mentor

This is the friend who’s been there — this person can offer empathy and support in ways that few others can, because he/she has gone ahead of you. This friend is smart, inspiring and intentional about living a life that’s admirable. The Wise Mentor sees beyond what is explicit, and has a knack for accurately interpreting potential scenarios. This person may not be headed to your destination, but he/she has tried the various paths, so his/her experience and thoughtfulness span the board.

A Co-Worker

This friend is important, because he/she is likely weighed down by similar professional stressors. Your Co-Worker has seen your best and worst reactions, and knows how you process information. This person may not be your best friend, but you do life together and your friendship is highly effective at troubleshooting. The gift here is that this individual may or may not have entirely different worldly perspective; confide in this friend for a fresh outlook. Often, when we’re down or in the midst of emotional pain, it’s based on our interpretation of a scenario or a set of circumstances. It can be difficult to see beyond what we feel sure of; seek some guidance from a friend who may see things in a different light.

A “Godly” Friend

One of the first signs of depression and anxiety is isolation. When you are tempted to withdraw from those around you, what you need is to fight through those thoughts and seek out genuine, loving friendships. Friends bring laughter, support, listening ears and open arms — all things that help with the battle for mental health. You need a friend who will pray for you, hope for you, encourage and love you – especially when you fall short (because we all do). A “Godly” Friend will speak the truth in love, motivated to help you identify what is best for you and how you can continue moving forward. Seeking counsel from this friend is an investment in your “best self.”

An Empathetic Friend

This is someone who is very in-tune with the emotions of others; sometimes, when we’re struggling, we don’t know how to reach out for help (or don’t feel like we can) — this person is more likely to beat you to it, as they notice when you don’t seem quite right. An empathetic friend is attentive and provides a level of comfort others cannot, as you open up without fear of judgement or gossip. This person may or may not provide specific insight; their real strength is in listening and understanding… sometimes, that is all we truly need.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Originally published: June 26, 2019
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