Despite communication being a crucial part of our lives, when we are affected by the dark times of hard struggles, it becomes almost impossible for us to reach out for help. The fear, stress, and anxiety take a huge toll and paralyze our ability to be articulate. It is one thing to be suffering in this pain on our own, and it is a completely different scare when our loved ones are going through it and we feel clueless regarding how to help them or care for them.
Your doubt about the right approach or right words can often make you select silence as the way of communication despite feeling the need to reach out. And ignoring an inner worried instinct can actually result in someone’s mental harm. In case you have a dear one who you fear is silently struggling (but you are not sure), or has been distant lately, or someone you are really worried about but do not know what is the right way of reaching out, then you can take help from the following suggestions. Remember, a situation so sensitive like this, demands subtlety that must lack bluntness or vagueness.
- Leave a message reminding them that you miss them. Whether someone is struggling or not, “I miss you” or “Thinking of you” can bring a smile to the receiver’s face and remind them they are loved.
- A simple “how are you?” can always prove to be really powerful.
- To create an uplifting and safe mood, talk about a nice memory you had with them in the past.
- Ask if they’ve seen a popular new Netflix show. This might seem very random but at least it will help you understand where they stand emotions-wise, and then take further necessary steps.
- Music can be very powerful in terms of making someone expressing themselves. Sending a song and asking for an opinion is always a calming way to connect with someone. Maybe the song will do the trick for you and the person will slowly start saying how the song affected their current emotional state.
- Ensure them that they are not alone and can always choose you as their safe place. Trust me, this is not sappy/cringe/cheesy, sometimes such sentimental words can help save lives.
- The person may shut you down initially when you approach. In such a situation, remember not to be too pushy. Let them know you are free to communicate and allow some space.
- Ask if you can help with anything.
- Social media is a very informative tool. Ask them about their recent activities over there.
- Sometimes directly acknowledging that things have not been easy for them and you noticed, will make it easier for them to vent.
- As mentioned before, social media is powerful. Tag them in motivating posts, even in funny memes. It might sound silly, but it helps you avoid being pushy yet send healing thoughts to them.
- Share a piece of news they may be interested in.
- Offer to run an errand for them.
- Plan a hangout, maintaining proper safety of course. Sometimes, a small break from the usual environment can help someone heal better.
- Send a photo you love that will make them smile.
- Acknowledge their strength during these difficult times.
- Small presents like flowers, food, DIY gifts can also help in such situations.
- A random email/text sharing what they mean to you can do magic.
- Remind them of the good things they have done for you and others.
- Wish them a good day.
All these suggestions might sound arbitrary at first, but random communication is better than no communication at all, right? The power of right words has always surpassed every other power, hence these conversation starters can help you grab your dear one’s hand before they slip too deep into their mental darkness. Never forget that reaching out saves lives.
Written by: Tasnia Shahrin
Tasnia Shahrin loves to talk about books and will not miss any opportunity to throw a list of book titles at your face. To get more of her recommendations follow her @lunchtime_reader.