Friendship Support

“To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.”
– Brandi Snyder

“Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”

  • Interests that they indicated (check your connection email)
  • Work life
  • Family life
  • Friends
  • Postpone any such questions until your relationship feels like it’s on a solid footing of trust, perhaps three months in.
  • Use “I” statements, not “you” statements. Example: Not “You Muslims think Christians are infidels, right?” but “I have heard some people say that Muslims think Christians are infidels. Is this true?”
  • Preface it with “I don’t want to be offensive, and I am wondering …”
  • State, “I have heard ____________; I don’t know if this is true … Please tell me your view.”
  • Listen to the answer; don’t insist that you know.
  • Paraphrase what you heard and inquire more deeply if desired.
  • Think curiosity, not judgment; humility, not arrogance.
  • Yes! WhatsApp in particular is known for being listened to by intelligence services. Please do not press your non-U.S. friend to discuss any sensitive topics, like their concerns about their government or gangs. Learn to read between the lines. You and we do not want to be responsible for anybody’s being arrested!
  • Keep in mind that your friend, especially if Iranian, could be concerned about your using the relationship for intelligence to undermine his country. Don’t ask so many questions about the country that you set off those alarm bells.
  • If your friend was in prison (very common in Palestine), he or she may not be comfortable with telling you why. This doesn’t mean he or she did anything morally wrong, but he or she will not want to be put in jeopardy by discussing things that could get him or her in trouble again.
  • If your friend is an activist working to change their non-U.S. government, again this topic would be too sensitive to discuss.
  • If your friend is religiously conservative, do not ask to be introduced to his wife or her husband, as your friend may want to protect her or him from exposure to the opposite sex.
  • First, did you get the time difference right? Google, “What time is it at x p.m. in Palestine” or whatever.
  • Second, understand the circumstances. Your friend may be in a place where the Internet, phone service, commuting, and/or electricity may be unreliable. Never judge.
  • Third, when you do connect (or by email) tell your friend how important your calls are to you and that you need to be able to rely on their keeping the appointments if at all possible.
  • Fourth, work together to create a solution that works for both sides.
  • Fifth, if your friend is near Gaza City, and you are near one of the sites of Shared Spaces, we may be able to set you up to use one. Contact us to request this.
  • Finally, if your friend is chronically flakey, and the above steps do not work, please email us to request a new match, if available.
  • It hurt my feelings when you said ….
  • I felt angry when you said …
  • Use “I” statements, not “you” statements—not “You people just hate Americans” but “I felt hurt when you said that America is evil, because I love my country.”
  • Leave space for your friend to restate his or her point and possibly apologize.
  • Also show grace for possibly awkward use of English as a second language.
  • Remind of them of the terms of participation if they are asking for money.
  • The reality is that most Iranians, Palestinians, and Salvadorans will not qualify for a tourist visa (much less a work visa), but if you would like to extend or decline to extend an invitation, you are free to do either.
  • If you want to visit with your friend, the more likely solution is visiting their country. Typically, Iran, the West Bank, and Israel are generally safe for Americans to visit (but don’t do anything foolish in country, like photograph military sites); El Salvador is safe in certain places; the Gaza Strip could be targeted by bombing or shooting at demonstrators and is also very hard to get into.
  • Say, “I didn’t mean to hurt you, and I can see that I have. I’m sorry. Please tell me more.”
  • Remember that your comment was just the tip of a large iceberg of pain and grievances. Don’t be defensive. Create a safe space for your friend to heal and for you to get insight into their world.


  • Take advantage of our Resources page to learn more.
  • Say, “I don’t know much about this, and I am wondering …”
  • Ask
  • Share what you are learning with your countrymen and women.
  • Maybe record a video of your friend that you will share with your Facebook and/or Twitter friends/followers.
  • Contact your member of Congress and/or the White House if you have concerns about U.S. policies that affect your friend’s country.
  • Consider writing a letter to the editor about your concerns relative to current events and related newspaper/magazine articles.

“Above all other things, the one thing that I found to benefit a person most in this world and the Hereafter is a suitable friend.”
-Sufyan al-Thawri

“Lead such a life that, when you die, the people may mourn you, and while you are alive they long for your company.”
-Imam Ali

How to Use Person2Person-Recommended Technologies for Video Calls


To download the app to your phone:
  1. Go to the App Store or Google Play store.
  2. Search for WhatsApp.
  3. Select WhatsApp Messenger and install.
  4. Click on the green WhatsApp icon on your phone.
  5. Press “Agree” to Terms of Service and continue onto the homepage.
  6. Put in your phone number and country.
  7. WhatsApp will text you a verification.
  8. Type the verification into your phone.
  9. Enter in your name and information.
  10. You are ready to go!
To make a call:
  1. Save the phone number of the person you would like to call to the contact list of your phone.
  2. Go to the WhatsApp icon on your phone and open it.
  3. Touch the “Calls” button at the bottom of your screen.
  4. Click the phone + icon at the top right corner of the screen.
  5. Find your contact by searching or scrolling.
  6. If you want to have a video call, touch the camera icon next to the appropriate contact.
  7. Enjoy your conversation!
Video on How to use WhatsApp


To download the app to your phone:
  1. Go to the Apple Store or Google Play store.
  2. Search for Viber.
  3. Select Viber Messenger and click “Get.”
  4. Click install.
  5. Click on Viber icon on phone.
  6. Click on Continue through first page. (This will agree to Terms of Service, so read them if you wish.)
  7. Type in your phone number.
  8. Select “Yes” when prompted.
  9. Viber will send you a text. Input the code into Viber within the allotted time.
  10. Select “Yes” when you are prompted to let Viber access your contacts.
  11. Enter your information and click “Done.”
  12. You are ready to go!
To make a call:
  1. Make sure the person you are going to call is already in your contacts.
  2. Find the contact’s name.
  3. Click on the camera icon to place a video call or click on the “Invite” button next to their name to invite them to join Viber.
Video on How to use Viber
To use Viber on your desktop:
  1. You must already have it Installed on your phone.
  2. Follow the directions in the attached video:


To sign up on your computer:
  1. Go to Zoom.US.
  2. Go to the “Sign up free” box; enter your email and click “Sign up free.”
  3. Confirm your email address.
  4. Open the email that Zoom will send you.
  5. Click on the “Activate Account” button.
  6. Enter the information and preferred password.
  7. Click on Continue.
  8. Zoom will give you the option to invite other people to join. Skip this option.
  9. You will be taken to a test meeting. This will teach you how to schedule a meeting and let you navigate different options.
  10. After navigating the test meeting, leave the test meeting and update your profile as you see fit under the Profile tab.
To schedule a meeting (for users of Outlook or Google Calendar):
  1. Sign into Zoom at Zoom.US.
  2. Click on “Meetings” on the left-hand side of the screen.
  3. Click on “Upcoming Meetings” in the menu across the top.
  4. Click on “Schedule a New Meeting.”
  5. Fill out the meeting information. Put “on” for Video for both Host and Participant. You will need to scroll down.
  6. Click “Save.”
  7. Next to the time option, add the meeting to your Outlook calendar or Google calendar.
  8. Leave Zoom and go to your Outlook or Google Calendar.
  9. Open the meeting.
  10. Customize the invite to your guest(s).
  11. Invite guest(s) to the meeting with the meeting ID code and information.
To schedule a meeting (for users of iCal or a non-digital method):
  1. Sign into Zoom at Zoom.US.
  2. Click on “Meetings” on the left-hand side of the screen.
  3. Click on “Upcoming Meetings” in the menu across the top.
  4. Click on “Schedule a New Meeting.”
  5. Fill out the meeting information. Put “on” for Video for both Host and Participant. You will need to scroll down.
  6. Click “Save.”
  7. Note down the Meeting ID.
  8. Leave Zoom and go to your iCal or prepare an email.
  9. Provide the link to join you at the agreed time and place on Zoom at
  10. Invite guest(s) to the meeting by entering your friend’s email and hitting Invite on your iCal entry or by sending the email.

Video on How to use Zoom on Your iPhone or iPad