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  • LISTEN.  Give your friend your undivided attention as she/he is talking to you.
  • BELIEVE. Believe what your friend tells you.  It has taken a lot of courage and strength to tell you something so personal.
  • DO NOT JUDGE.  Be careful not to make judgments about the situation or about the decisions your friend has made or has appeared to make.
  • UNDERSTAND WHAT YOUR FRIEND IS SAYING.  Concentrate on understanding the thoughts, feelings, and experiences your friend has chosen to share with you - not on finding out things you want to know.
  • BE SUPPORTIVE.  Support your friend's feelings as well as her/his choice to share them with you.  Acknowledge that it may have been difficult to tell you.   
  • TELL YOUR FRIEND THAT NO ONE DESERVES TO BE ABUSED.  It is not unusual for survivors to feel they have done something wrong.  Continue to remind your friend that the abuser is the one at fault.
  • SUPPORT YOUR FRIEND'S RIGHT TO MAKE HER/HIS OWN DECISIONS.  Sometimes we think we know what is best.  Remember that the experience is not yours.  Telling your friend what to do will not not be helpful.
  • PROVIDE RESOURCE INFORMATION.  Offer the telephone number for Safe Shelter (701-251-2300) or the domestic violence program in your area, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE.
  • EDUCATE YOURSELF.  Understand the dynamics of dating violence and the available options.
  • PROTECT YOUR FRIEND'S PRIVACY.  It is not your place to tell others what your friend has told you.  However, if you think your friend is in danger, tell a teacher or another adult who can offer help and support.


Source: Michigan Domestic VIolence Prevention and Treatment Board