Whether it's your friend or the love of your life, all people like to have high self esteem. However, everyone has their inner weaknesses, as well.
- Compliment them often. When they do or say something sweet, considerate, sincere, funny, whatever, take it graciously and say it was a nice gesture or they are funny, whatever is the appropriate response.
- Be sincere. Although we as humans can't always handle the truth, it usually is the thing that we must hear. If the person asks you a question, answer it honestly and nicely without hurting their feelings or overdoing it. Even if it may be a little harsh, say it as kindly as possible.
- Make sure you are slow to anger. It is easy to get annoyed with a person who is constancy putting themselves down but they are at a very fragile position right now and getting mad at them will just aggravate the situation. If you attack them or get mad they will feel like you hate them and become even worse.
- Be aware of their feelings. When people see sad people they tend to avoid them or pretend like they don't exist so that they won't bring them down. This, however, is the opposite of what needs to be done. The person with low self esteem needs to know that they care about them because they probably feel like no one does. Lets say you saw him/her on the bench, crying. You walk over and ask whats wrong, and they say go away. DO NOT GO AWAY! This will make them feel worse. Sit next to them and comfort them, even if they do not say what is making them feel bad.
- Find out what they are struggling with. It could be looks, confidence, social fear, bullying, not fitting in, feeling lonely, or many other reasons that they feel inferior. Find out why they feel as they do, what they actually feel, and what they actually want.
- Try to include them. When you are having a party, invite them, when they are trying to come in a conversation, include them, when they are scared to meet someone, introduce them. Most people with low self esteem feel as though no one likes them or some variation on that theme. If you take the time to let them be included and find out that some people genuinely do like them, they will gain confidence.
- Realise that they may be a tad bitter. And take that with a grain of salt. When people like these have taken an emotional beating from themselves and the people around them they might not be nice all of the time. You have to be compassionate and gentle with them as most of these people are used to being put down all of the time and so are generally on the defensive.
- Be careful with what you say. People with low self esteem are very sensitive and vulnerable in the areas that they are insecure. Where one person might shrug a side remark off, a person with low self esteem might internalize it and crumble from the inside. Just as you wouldn't expect a baby to 'jog off' a bruise or injury, you can't expect a person with low self esteem to just shrug off a nasty comment or a taunting joke.
- Don't baby them. There is a fine line between being nice and laying it on too thick. If you are too nice all the time they will either get offended, creeped out, or not be able to handle being without you. Be sure to be nice but just take it easy.
- Don't let them think you are into them. If they like you, too, and they think you like them, they will just have lower self-esteem when they find out you don't.
- Don't make jokes that could be taken offensively. It could hurt more than have the desired effect of making them laugh. They may even laugh and cover it up making it worse.
- Don't lie to make them feel better. It will come back to haunt you.
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