There are countless family problems that your friend could be having.
Allowing your friend to talk about it, although it mightn’t seem very helpful, is very therapeutic. Just having someone who is interested in what they are going through can make your friend feel like they have an opportunity for their feelings to be heard and understood. They may not necessarily need you to do anything about changing those feelings but it is good for them to have those feelings validated by a friend.
Friend: “I just feel so anxious whenever I go home and have to listen to the fighting”
You: “That situation would be quite stressful”
Sometimes family issues can get very complex and could result in your friend
- needing to move out of home or wanting to move out of home
- wanting to go back home but they are unable to because of their studies (e.g. international students, students from rural or remote areas or interstate students)
- needing some time away from home, maybe just getting out for awhile helps
- feeling overwhelmed with the family duties they are required to perform
- confused or caught between family members who have separated
Depending on the issue you might be able to question them and ask something like:
“What things have you considered?”
“Have you thought about how you might change the situation”?
It is good to find out what they have thought about rather than you jumping in with your ideas and solutions. Once you have heard their thoughts you might be able to explore the options together – which will work much better.
At times the family issue could be very serious (e.g. abuse going on, a family member with a severe illness or disability) and you might feel that your friend could benefit from some more professional help or assistance. In this situation you could suggest to your friend that
“I’m here whenever you want to talk, but maybe you should consider talking to (e.g. GP, Counsellor) who can offer some additional support?”