By Rachel Goodman, LAMFT —

Going through a transition can be hard at times. It can be stressful, frustrating, and exciting, all at the same time. As someone is in their transition, they need support from not only medical professionals to help them through the physical and medical interventions of a transition, but support from the people around them. Support from friends, and family is so important. Transitioning can be a long process that often has its ups and downs. It’s important that the person feels like they have a strong support around them, that accepts them for who they are at their core. Not only is it important to be there for them, but to voice that you will be there for them every step of the way. Show them that they are important to you. A simple text, call or “I am here for you” can go a long way. The best ways to be there for them also can include, checking in on them, asking them if they want to spend time together, or simply asking them if they just need you to lend an ear. When listening and supporting your friend, here are some tips that can help.

  • Validate their experience. “That sounds really stressful” or “That sounds tough, but I know you can get through it”
  • Don’t say “I know exactly what you are going through” because the truth is, if you haven’t been through a transition yourself, you DON’T know what they have to go through.
  • What you can say is  “I don’t know exactly what you are going through, but I will be here every step of the way with you, and will support you through it all”
  • Don’t try to solve their problems for them. Sometimes friends just want to vent, to feel supported and heard, and not to hear solutions. It’s okay to ask questions, and to be curious, but trying to offer solutions can sometimes do more harm than good. You can say “That sounds difficult, but if anyone can handle this, it’s you. I am sorry you are feeling this way.”

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Rachel was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. She is a Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (LAMFT) with a Masters of Advanced study in Marriage and Family Therapy, from Arizona State University.  Her passions are to support couples in improving connection and building a strong foundation, as well as help individuals and families know they have a safe place to feel heard. Another one of her passions is helping the transgender youth community.