Some heartfelt advice from writer Bill Bernat, who’s been there
Don’t think that being sad and being OK are incompatible. Please don’t let our lack of bubbly happiness freak you out. Sadness does not need to be treated with the urgency of a shark attack. Yes, we can be sad and OK at the exact same time. TV, movies, popular songs and even people tell us if we’re not happy, there’s something wrong. We’re taught that sadness is unnatural, and we must resist it. In truth, it’s natural and it’s healthy to accept sadness and know it won’t last forever.
Do absolve yourself of responsibility for the depressed person. You might be afraid that if you talk to them, you’re responsible for their well-being, that you need to “fix” them and solve their problems. You’re not expected to be Dr. Phil — just be friendly, more like Ellen. You may worry that you won’t know what to say, but words are not the most important thing — your presence is.