If your partner is upset, nothing is more frustrating than hearing the words, "I don't want you to fix it." Of course you want to offer a concrete and doable solution that will quickly cure whatever ails your significant other. But being a supportive boyfriend or girlfriend doesn't mean being a life coach, a guru, or just a general advice giver. Oftentimes, it's simply being there - and loving someone - that truly counts. Here are some tips for supportive relationships that involve providing affection, distraction, and comfort.
When your partner is scared, frustrated, sad, or disappointed, it's important for the proverbial "other half" to help them through. Don't feel like you need to be perfect or an expert in psychology to help. If you're wondering how to be supportive in a relationship, there are plenty of ways to do so that don't require a college degree or hours spent in the self-help section of the bookstore.
Start small. Be kind. Be soft. Let them vent and simply listen, repeat their words, and don't immediately offer advice. Do small things to cheer them up. Go on a walk together. Cook them a nice meal. Leave them a love note. If you're looking for some creative ways to be a supportive partner, read this list of all the little things that make a big impact. Vote up the best ways to help below!
Let them vent
Ask thoughtful follow up questions
Hold their hand
Call out the positive ways in which they're handling the situation
Take them to a movie to get their mind off their trouble
Don't take it personally when they need space
Plan a relaxing evening at home together
Kindly insist on a spur of the moment ice cream run
Be patient while they're feeling down
Check in with them, even if the situation seems to be over
Don't be judgmental
Remind them of all the reasons you love them
Send them a sweet text message
Make their favorite comfort food
Ask if they're looking for advice before offering it
Paraphrase what they say so they know you're listening
Say, "I love you."
Use a positive, gentle tone
Offer to drive them around for the night
Assure them you've got their back
Write a love note and leave it somewhere they'll find it
Rub their shoulders
Be the big spoon
Rub their feet
Invite them on a walk