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How to talk to a friend if you think they’re in trouble

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How to talk to a friend if you think they’re in trouble

Sometimes problems seem unsolvable, but if you can lend ahand, it can work wonders.

Everyone has friends who are oversharers, telling youeverything that’s going on in their lives in great detail. But we also havethose intensely private friends who don’t talk about anything if they can helpit.

If that oversharer has suddenly clamped their mouth shut, orthe private mate seems even more worried than usual, it could be a sign thatthey’re in some kind of trouble. Of course, it can be awkward to bring this up,especially if you think they’ll act like everything’s fine or snap at you. Butthere are some methods that can help.

Stay comfortable and genuine

Don’t feel like you have to act as though you’re in anAmerican TV show where everyone gets together with cake and has an intervention.Be yourself when you ask them what’s going on, and don’t make it seem like amassive event. It can be as simple as asking, “You haven’t seemed yourselflately – is everything okay?”

Let them know your perspective

This isn’t about you, so don’t get all MEMEMEME with it. But it’s often a good move to say “I’m worried about you.” Even if you don’t get an immediate response (or an immediate good response, anyway), it can plant the seed in your friend’s mind that you care, and they can reach out if/when they need to.

When they open up, listen

Don’t interrupt, don’t tell your own story, don’t leap inwith advice. Open your ears and actively listen to what your friend is tellingyou. Remember, you’re not here to judge or solve the problem, you’re here tosupport them in whatever’s going on. Ask them what you can do to help, and don’tgo telling everyone else what you’ve been told in secret.

If it’s serious, reach out for more support

There are lots of different ways a person can be in trouble.Sometimes your role is just to listen, share your perspective if they ask andgenerally be there for your friend. In other cases, where the situation isreally serious, dangerous or likely to get out of control, you might need tocall in more help. (Yeah, we just said not to go telling everyone else yourfriend’s secrets, but sometimes you’ll need to reach out to an adult or an organisation like Headspace.)

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