Let's say you get sick, so you decide to visit the doctor.

As you explain your symptoms, the doctor looks more and more concerned, until she finally starts flailing her arms, running around the room and screaming “OH NO YOU HAVE PNEUMONIA I'M FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW AAH!”

It's a ridiculous image – because we expect that, no matter what's wrong with us, the doctor is going to calmly help us get better.

And when your friend comes to you with a problem, they also expect you to be calm and help them get better. I'm not saying that you need to be an unemotional robot – it's fine to get emotional, or even to cry with your friend.

But remember that your job is to support your friend, and sometimes that means that you need to put your own emotions to the side so you can be a good helper. There will be time later for you to process your feelings – but if you freak out when your friend needs you, then you can't support them.

Again, your friend is the one having the problem, not you. If you are ever more emotional than your suffering friend, that's a good sign that you should calm down and refocus on helping them.

We've finished part Part 1: In the Moment. Our next pages are from Part 2: The Long Term.

Next: Follow up