Respeto and Confianza: How to Be a Supportive Comadre

Research shows that when we are trying to learn new and healthy behaviors it is better not to “go it alone.” At De Las Mías, we encourage all women who want to learn new and healthier ways of living to team up with a comadre or good friend.  

Here are some tips on how to support a friend or comadre who is trying to make healthy changes:

  1. Listen first. Then offer help. Once you have listened to your comadre without interruption, you can say something like, “Thanks for sharing that with me,” or “It really helps to understand where you’re coming from.” Then you can go to “What can I do to help?” Take your cues from her and respect her wishes. This builds confianza and respeto!
  2. Ask for what she would like you to do. Try to get specific without being too metichi (i.e., forceful.) A simple, “What can I do to help you?” might be just fine. Some comadres have a written agreement. That’s easy to do nowadays with texting and email! Example: “Sofia will call Carmen once a week to see how she’s doing.”
  3. Be a good listener. Sometimes all we need is someone to hear us out without too much cross talk. Let her finish speaking without interruption. This builds respeto, the all-important element of respect.
  4. Avoid “you” and “should” statements. Instead of, “You should stop eating so many flour tortillas,” try, “You know what helped me? I switched to corn tortillas.”
  5. Share your own experience. Sharing your story, even when things didn’t go so well, builds confianza. Building trust by opening up your heart is better than giving advice. Just remember to let her talk first, then share your story.  
  6. Offer support without judgment. When she is struggling or feeling discouraged, try something like, “I’m here for you, comadre.” Or “Keep trying!” Or even better, “Let’s do it together!”

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