This might help if:
- You’re worried about your friend
- You’re having a bit of trouble chatting to your friend about it
- You want some pointers on how to make the conversation easier
We’re all sad sometimes
We all get sad. It’s a fact. Whether it’s because something specific has happened in our lives or we’re simply just feeling down in the dumps. No matter what the situation, feeling sad is totally normal. It’s when this feeling doesn’t go away for a long time that it starts to become a problem. If a friend has been sad for a while, or you think that there might be something bigger going on, it’s a good idea talk to them about it.
Having the chat
Easier said than done, talking to a friend about the deep stuff can be a tricky conversation to have. But if you’re really worried about them, it’s important to check in. Before you even start chatting with them, there are things you can do to make everything run as smooth as possible:
- Pick the right place: Chances are this chat will be on the serious side, so you don’t want other people listening in. Pick somewhere comfortable and private, like your house, where your friend is less likely to be distracted.
- Be an awesome listener: Just by listening to your friend you can make a huge difference. It’s okay to be a little nervous, but try and use relaxed body language. This means not crossing your arms and legs, and facing them square on to let them know you really care. If they decide they’re keen to talk it out, try and be as open-minded as possible.
- Be prepared: Research some relevant info, resources and services to share with them, or simply think about the reasons they might be feeling down - Have they just lost someone close? Are they having trouble at school? Do they have a medical condition? There’s nothing wrong with doing a little homework.
- Don’t push it: If they don’t want to talk about it straight away, let them know that’s completely fine. Be patient while they think it over. If they really don’t want help, remember not to give up if you’re worried.
If you’re finding it a bit hard to get the ball rolling, try out these questions:
- “Hey, what’s been going on?”
- “You’ve seemed pretty down lately - everything all right?”
- “It seems like there’s been a lot stuff on your mind. Anything you want to chat about?”
Looking after yourself
It’s important to take time out for yourself whilst looking after your friend. You could do this simply by setting some boundaries. For example, you might decide that you’re not prepared to miss school because of them, or not take phone calls after midnight. Sharing the load with people you trust is also a great way to keep your emotions in check – get in touch with other people from their support network, like friends or family.
If your friend needs extra support
If you’ve tried everything you can and nothing seems to be helping, it’s likely there’s something more serious going on. In this case, it’s a good idea to recommend they talk to someone about, whether that’s a trusted family member or a mental health professional like a counsellor or GP. When they’ve built up the courage to make an appointment, offer to go with them. It might not happen straight away, but stick at it.