They might not have seen their family for months, their business could be operating under the strains of COVID-19, or they might be having trouble meeting their mortgage repayments.
And here’s the thing: we’re not all blessed with the natural conversation instincts and EQ of someone like Andrew Denton.
So sometimes we put off tough conversations for fear of making the situation worse.
But rather than wait until someone’s visibly distressed or in crisis before offering them support, we wanted to mark R U OK? Day by sharing the charity’s tips for starting the conversation.
1. Pick your moment
Meaningful moments are more likely to take place when we’re spending quality time together.
While this can be difficult to do during a lockdown, below is an example of some everyday situations that may be a good time to ask someone if they’re ok:
– while exercising together
– when spending time together socially or during an activity
– during breaks from work or study
– when connecting or doing activities together online
– while sharing a meal
– while travelling together – even a short trip can be a good time to talk.
2. How to ask ‘R U OK?’
Start the conversation at a time and in a place where you’ll both be comfortable.
Be relaxed and friendly in your approach. And think about how you can ease into the conversation.
If they don’t want to talk, let them know you’ll be there for them when they’re ready, or ask if there’s someone else they’d be more comfortable chatting to.
Examples of how to check in with them include:
– I haven’t seen much of you lately, is everything going ok?
– So, how are you travelling these days?
– You’ve been a bit tired, how are things going?
3. Listen with an open mind
Once they start to open up to you, be prepared to listen. Don’t try to solve their problems right away and have an open mind.
Some other tips include:
– don’t rush them or interrupt. Let them speak in their own time
– encourage them to explain
– show you’ve listened by repeating back what you have heard and asking if you have understood them correctly.
4. How to encourage action
You don’t have to have the answers or be able to offer professional advice but you can help them consider the next steps they can take to manage their situation.
You can get the ball rolling by asking them:
– Where do you think we can go from here?
– What do you need from me? How can I help?
– Have you thought about going to see your GP?
5. Check-in again soon after
Be sure to follow up in a few days to see how they’re doing.
During the conversation, ask them to suggest a time that’s good for them, or simply ask: “Do you mind if I drop by again soon to see how you’re travelling?”
When you check in, ask how they are feeling and if anything has helped since the last time you spoke. If they have not taken any steps yet, be patient and ask if they would like to find some options together.
Understand that it can take time for people to seek help. Stick with them. Your genuine support will mean a lot to them.
Feel free to reach out to us, too
We like to think of ourselves as more than just your broker who you turn to when you need a loan – but also a friend you can turn to in times of need.
So if you’re not feeling OK today, tomorrow, or next month, feel free to give us a call whenever you need. We’re always here to listen and help in any way we can.