We are all born with the right to feel cared for. The care we receive as a child fuels our sense of being and mattering in the universe. It builds our self-esteem and gives us our self-worth. When people care about us, we feel safe, loved, and secure. We can help others feel this way too.
Do you struggle to know how you can help others in their times of need? It can be tough to see those we care about struggling. Sometimes we feel useless and don’t know how we can help. When we show others that we care, we can alleviate their suffering.
This article will explain why it is essential to care for others. It will also suggest 5 ways you can let someone know you care.
Why it’s important to show others you care
How do you feel knowing others care about you? I suspect it gives you a sense of belonging and that you matter. The world is an increasingly lonely place. Having others show they care about you is an antidote for this loneliness.
Caring works both ways. While our motives to show others that we care are often not transactional, we reap what we sow. You get the same care and love back if you put care and love into the world.
It’s a cliche to say that you never know what someone else is going through. But it’s a hard truth. A simple act of caring can bring a butterfly effect of change into someone’s life.
There is no restriction on who we can care about. When we open ourselves to compassion for all, we find a deep sense of caring for everyone, including:
We don’t need to know someone to care about them.
My partner was at the dentist, and the appearance of his dentist worried him; he didn’t look healthy compared to the last time my partner saw him. My partner showed his care by asking if he was ok. His dentist appeared taken aback by the kindness and was grateful to feel seen as a human being beyond his professional position at that moment in time.
At its most critical, letting someone know you care about them can save lies. The samaritan’s guide on suicide prevention helps debunk some associated myths surrounding suicide:
- Asking someone if they are having suicidal thoughts can save lives.
- Encouraging people to contact the samaritans can save lives.
- Taking people seriously if they talk about suicide can save lives.
When we show we care, we tell others they are not alone. We help them feel seen and understood, and we provide reassurance that things can and will get better.
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How caring about others is mutually beneficial
Many people who are kind and compassionate are not driven by personal gain. However, it is scientifically proven that those who show kindness benefit from improved well-being. These health benefits include:
- Greater overall happiness.
- Positive mental health.
- Strong immune system.
- Reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Healthier relationships.
- Longer life expectancy.
Funnily enough, the above list of benefits for those who show caring and kindness is also relevant to those who receive caring and kindness from others.
Having others care about us and caring about others is a circular paradigm. Human beings are a social species. Even the most introverted of us benefit from being cared about.
If we want to enter this caring cycle, the trick is finding ways to show others that we care about them.
5 ways to show someone you care
Life is full of twists and turns. When someone is enduring hardship, you can brighten their world by showing you care.
There are many ways to show someone you care, and different people respond to different approaches.
Here are 5 of our most powerful tips to show someone you care about them.
1. Fine-tune your communication skills
Communication is a vital tool to show someone you care. And when I say communication, this is as much about what you don’t say as what you say.
- Listen more than you talk.
- Ask open questions about feelings.
- Don’t jump in with your own experiences.
- Be careful not to minimize the situation.
- Show empathy.
We’ve all had that friend who meant well, but they came out with one-upmanship stories.
I had recently split up with a boyfriend, and my “friend” said something like, “well, at least you haven’t been out with a string of nutters like me.” In one fell swoop, she turned the conversation to her, minimized how I felt, and left me feeling wholly uncared for.
Top tip: don’t ask for the details of any situation. You don’t need the gossip. Ask how they are feeling and listen. Try your best not to jump in with solutions.
Often, people want to be heard; they aren’t looking for a fix.
2. Make them something
My partner and I had only recently started dating when my world collapsed. When my soulmate dog passed away unexpectantly, it broke me. My partner made me a keepsake memento to honor her memory.
To this day, I feel touched by the thought and sentiment of this gesture. It made me feel deeply cared about.
The memento rests on my bedside table and gives me a sense of warmth each time I focus on it.
If you want to show someone you genuinely care about them, consider making them something. Knowing that you have put time, effort, and thought into whatever you create will mean the world to them.
Here is a list of things you can make:
- A meal.
- Handmade card.
- Spotify playlist.
The options are endless. If you're looking for more tips, here's our article on how to make someone else happy.
3. Be available
This tip is a big one. Give the gift of time to let someone know you care about them. Be available if they call you in an emergency or in their hour of need.
I called a friend in an hour of need; I asked if we could meet up the next day. She told me she had a hairdresser appointment and was unwilling to rearrange it. I am not someone to open up readily in times of trouble. The mere act of asking to meet was particularly vulnerable for me. To be brushed aside for a hairdresser appointment left me feeling deeply wounded. Funnily enough, we are not friends anymore.
Of course, I’m not suggesting you cancel all your plans when someone asks for your time. But I am suggesting you assess the scale of the situation.
If it seems like someone is feeling desperate, rearranging your schedule and giving them your time is one of the most incredible acts of caring.
It’s all very well spending time with someone or having a phone call chat with them. But without follow-up, our words of caring seem tokenistic.
When we follow up, we compound the message that we care about them. It shows we have been thinking about them and is also a way to reassure them that we listened to what they said.
We can follow up in many different ways:
- Send a card.
- Send a text message.
- A phone call to check in.
- Sending links to articles that may be relevant based on your conversion.
- Arranging to do something together.
One of the best ways to show you care is to revisit the last conversation you had when you next connect. Here are some simple examples:
- Last time I saw you, you said you were having difficulties with your boss; how are things now?
- You sounded down in your text yesterday; how are you feeling today?
- Have you heard back about the job you applied for?
By following up, you show that you care enough about someone to remember their struggles and situations.
5. Be honest, not opinionated
There’s a difference between being obnoxiously opinionated and being honest.
Very often, our opinion is not relevant or wanted. We don’t need to tell a friend what we thought of their ex. Our role is to listen to them and not add to the pile-on.
Our friend is entitled to say anything they want about their ex; we are not. A word of warning, if you let rip with your opinion, be aware that your friend may reconcile with their ex, and your exposed opinion will remain like a dark cloud.
In circumstances like this, if asked a direct question, you can be honest, “I wasn’t a big fan of his, but I could see how much he meant to you,” that’s honest without diving into dramatic opinions.
In another situation, someone may ask if you think they are overreacting or being too sensitive. You may think they are, but you can be honest without hurting them. For instance, you could say, “from my position, you may have reacted in quite an extreme way, but given the circumstances, I can understand this.” It shows compassion and honesty.
I honor those I care about by being completely honest with them. My honesty doesn’t mean I am right or wrong, but it’s my truth. Our honesty can disappoint another, but it also helps build trust.
Honestly allows us to handle difficult conversations and develop genuine connections.
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Human beings need to give and receive care to help them feel a sense of belonging and that they matter. By showing others we care about them, we can help alleviate their feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression. Showing others we care can save lives, and it helps us feel happier as well.
How do you show others you care about them? What's a tip that you'd like to share with other readers? I'd love to hear your suggestions in the comments below!