Life, in general, is just plain difficult. You’ve got your ish together (maybe), but that doesn’t absolve you of having to interact with people who may be less than flattering in your daily life.

For example, that co-worker who is just plain miserable or that family member who is always asking for something while contributing very little to your life. For whatever reason, escaping isn’t possible. And if we are being honest, even those whose presence we value most of the time can present a challenge to be around.

Not everyone is perfect or pleasant all the time, but if someone superclose to us who is usually quite the life of the party starts switching up, chances are they’ve done so due to pressure from feeling overwhelmed. Here are four ways to support your loved one during times of uncertainty.

1. Keep a calm demeanor.

Dealing with someone who is less than pleasant can make us all go from zero to 100 real quick! As the more level-headed individual, it’s important to differentiate between someone being an ass and simply expressing feelings of being overwhelmed. Maintain a calm attitude when you figure out the difference.

2. Understand that your loved one’s issues are not yours.

We can express empathy for our loved ones without taking on their burdens. It is critical that you actively work to separate your issues from theirs, otherwise, their ish will undoubtedly become yours.

3. Ask how you can alleviate their burden.

One of the greatest ways to let someone know that you care is to simply ask, “How can I assist you?” Just make sure that you aren’t A) being taken advantage of (because some folks have the victim role down pat) and B) Confidently taking on a task that you are able to do without neglecting your own well-being.

4. Give them tough love.

Some folks will not do better unless you have a few choice words with them. After what you deem has been enough time of them sulking and complaining, have a talk with them. Let them know it is imperative that they must do better—even if it’s having a better outlook—and make sure to do so with compassion.

Shantell E. Jamison is EBONY’s senior editor of love and relationships. Her book, Drive Yourself in the Right Direction, is available on Amazon. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @Shantell_em and Instagram @Shantell_em.