Maybe you’ve noticed that a friend or loved one seems to be feeling down or acting differently from the way they usually do. You might wonder if it’s better to say something or let it go.
Having that first conversation with someone who needs your help can be awkward. But if you’re close to someone, you may be the first to notice that something’s wrong, and you may be the best person for them to turn to. It’s up to you to have the courage to start the conversation.
Here are some things you might say to get that conversation started, from a great website called seizetheawkward.org:
“Maybe it’s me, but I was wondering if you were all right.”
“Is there anything you want to talk about?”
“Hey, we haven’t talked in a while. How are you?”
“I haven’t heard you laugh in a while. Is everything OK?”
“Your face is telling me you could use a good talk.”
Then, once you’ve begun the discussion, let them open up at their own speed. Don’t force them to say anything they’re not ready to. Let them know that this won’t change how you feel about them. Keep it casual and don’t try to fix their problems for them, but do encourage them to seek expert help from a doctor, counselor, teacher, etc.
Most importantly, make sure they know you’re there for them in this critical time. Don’t give up. Keep checking in and keep offering to talk. Also remember to keep things confidential, unless you believe their safety or the safety of others is at stake.
And, as always, remember to take care of yourself. Don’t be afraid to reach for outside help if you need someone to talk to.
Founder and Executive Director