By: Terry Burgess, Midlife Coach for Men
My true friends and family members who were very close to me were the ones who noticed the start of my journey into my midlife challenges. If it were not for their caring concern and advice, I may have never begun to address the issues and behaviors that were leading me down a path of destruction.
If they had not mentioned my behavioral mood swings, my stress eating tendencies, and my changes in level of interest in hobbies and activities which at one time were something I could not miss participating in; I would have never started on my path of recovery.
Sometimes you as a friend may notice signs of changes in a friend’s behaviors and thoughts before they notice those same signs. Once you notice these signs you begin to wonder should I address them or should I not?
The answer to that second question is dependent upon your perceived quality of your friendship with that person. However, I can attest that your intervention can and will be appreciated by your friend in the long run if you commit to helping them. I am going to give you 5 tips to help you to address those changes with your friend.
- Recognize the changes and/or behaviors then document examples.
Once you notice the changes and/or behaviors your friend may be going through as a part of a quarter-life or midlife crisis document specific examples of those changes and behaviors you have observed including date and time. These can help you when you talk to the individual by giving them specific occasions and times so they can try to remember what was going on at that time.
- Be honest, caring and supportive, not judgmental
When you decide to talk to your friend about your concerns, remember to honestly report what you have observed. Furthermore, do not make judgement of the individuals actions. Show caring and support for the person and avoid any uses of words such as depression or suicide unless they bring it up in responding to your concerns. Tell them you wanted to address these issues/behaviors because you value their friendship and you want the best for them. Offer your assistance to help them to address the issues/behavior but only if they want your assistance. If they take you up on the offer, it may help to tell them that what you have discussed with them is confidential unless their life is in imminent danger.
- Help them identify the “why” or “reasons” for the behavior/issues.
Many times, in these crises the individual is attempting to meet need they seem to think or believe are not being met sufficiently. Talking to your friend will help you and them to identify why they are having these issues or behaving the way you have observed. In some cases, they may not realize it.
- Help your friend set goals to address the issue or change actions.
If you friend takes you up on the offer to help them, work with them on developing 2 to 3 action goals to address the issues/change actions. Once they have these goals tell them you are going to keep in touch and hold them accountable.
- Remain supportive even if they do not want your assistance.
If your friend does not want your help, continue to be supportive. Keep in contact with them and keep observing. If other friends or family notice you may need to have an intervention later if the situation warrants it. However, remember not every potential quarter life/midlife crisis needs an intervention.
These tips are helpful for many different scenarios other than those going though midlife crises. I hope that you find them helpful.
If you are a person going through a midlife crisis there are individuals who can help you. I encourage to step up and get help. I know when I was going through my episode, my mentors helped me. I have become a midlife coach because I know there are people out there who need this help but do not want to approach those close to them because of fear of judgement and showing weakness.
If you are needing some help or discernment on where to go next; please feel free to contact me for a complimentary 1-hour coaching introduction. I can help you develop a simple starting point plan to help you get on the road from your “midlife crisis” to your “midlife rediscover and redesign” for your life. You can visit http://bit.ly/SchedulewithTerry to schedule you complimentary coaching hour!
Terry is a Personal Leadership and Midlife Coach for Men with Upward MC in Benton, Kentucky. He can be contacted via e-mail at Terry@upwardmc.com or by phone at 270-493-0967. His website can be found at http://www.terrypburgess.com