My friend is depressed and I want to help him, but he always shuts me down.
It sounds like he is not ready to change yet, says our elder. Give him space.
My friend Ken (male, 13) is dealing with a lot lately. He says that he has depression and doesn’t know how to love himself. Personally I think he is a great guy, but he is often misunderstood. We game together and during those times I feel like we can talk openly about everything. We have a group chat with a few other friends and this one girl called Vi used to be close friends with him but we don’t exactly know the reason why they suddenly started hating each other. They have both ‘forgiven’ each other but still hold grudges. Ken is not exactly the ‘nice’ guy. To be honest, he treats his girlfriends very poorly. He used to date more than one girl at the same time and he has 14 exes. He is a player but I don’t tell him that because I know it’s not kind and it would make him sad. He doesn’t date people he actually likes but he does have this crush on a girl from a while back but they lost touch after he moved away. He doesn’t love himself and doesn’t want us to help him but I really want to make him happier. I understand I should give him space but I should also help him at the same time. How do I help him feel good about himself without making him mad? I’ve asked him similar questions before and he completely shut me down. Please tell me what to do to help him!
I am glad you wrote to us, but I can understand that it must be difficult because you want to help Ken with his issues, yet still be his friend. One thing I have learned, over and over again, is that you can never help anyone else with any problem unless they want the help and are ready to do the work to change and improve themselves.
It sounds to me like you are a great friend and very caring and wanting to help him but it also sounds like he is not ready to change or work on himself yet. One thing to keep in mind is that he is only 13 and that is very young. It is also very young to have already had 14 exes. Many people are not ready to work on improving themselves until much later in life.
Since he is not receptive to your help or talking about this right now, you could say something like, “You know I will always be here for you, Ken, and when you are ready to talk about liking yourself more and treating your girlfriends with kindness and respect, then I will be happy to talk with you about that.” So just let him know that you are there for him and be patient – then, hopefully, when he is ready, he will come to you and you can help him work through it when the time is right.
Perhaps he might have seen something in his family life that has taught him not to love himself enough or not to respect women – these things are often learned by watching those around you. So keep that in mind as something that might come up with him at a later time, when he is ready to share.
He is very lucky to have a friend like you, so right now, I would just enjoy his company, have fun, and you will be there when he is ready to talk with you about it. I will be thinking about you and wishing you and Ken all the best moving forward. Remember that we are always here for you if you need us.
Article #: 462814