We’ve all been there right-you see someone who is having a really tough time, you want to try and help them but you’re not sure what to say. Maybe you're worried about saying the wrong thing, or making someone feel worse or perhaps you just can’t find the right words.
So i’ve been chatting to some of you about this and have come up with a few thoughts about what to say when you don’t know what to say. Now these are just a few ideas and they might not appeal to you but it’s a starting point and if you have any other ideas please post them in the comments section!
We all love the reactions buttons on TalkLife right (same, OMG, support and hug) and for someone posting, seeing that people have reacted to their post can be really supportive. Have you ever thought about telling someone why you reacted though?!
“I’ve sent you a hug because I wanted to let you know I care”
“I’m feeling the same as you, I didn’t know what to say but I wanted to let you know”
Sometimes it’s great to ask a person a question-it can encourage them to open up and share more about how they are feeling which can be really helpful. Open questions are ones that don’t have a specific answer. Like these:
“How are you feeling?”, “What’s that like for you?”
You might also want to ask a question to see if someone wants to share a bit more information about what’s going on-again try and keep your questions quite open if you can, although this isn’t always possible and there are no rules!
Another way of being supportive is to summarise or reflect back someone's comment. It might sound strange but this can show someone that you have really heard and understood what they are saying. For example you could say something like this:
“Sounds like you’re feeling really upset that your mum isn’t listening to you-that must be hard”
“I can hear that you are feeling really sad at the moment and want to let you know i’m thinking of you”
Another great way to offer support is by short words of encouragement- ‘hang in there’, ‘thinking of you’, ‘sending you a hug’ are all great ways of showing someone you care!
Remember, you don’t have to try and solve other people’s problems and you don’t have to give advice, but just by showing someone that you are there and you care can make a huge difference. As long as you are trying to be supportive there isn’t really a right or a wrong thing to say and it’s very unlikely that anything you say would ever make anyone feel worse-we all appreciate it when someone responds to our post right?
Still feeling unsure? Here’s what some of your fellow TalkLifers had to say about it:
“If someone was nervous about commenting on a post I would ask them to think about how if feels when they get comments on their own posts. The feeling of not getting a comment is no-one's favorite feeling. A short comment saying nice words can help a lot of people”
“I would tell them not to be afraid. Tell them as long as you are trying to help them then say it. You might even save their life”
“If you don’t know what to say, you can say that! People want to be acknowledged and feel support, it can feel vulnerable to post something about ourselves, sometimes there aren’t words to help, but showing up is what’s most important.
“If you wanna help or give words of wisdom just go for it, that’s why we are on here!”
So next time you want to say something but don’t know what to say why don’t you give some of these techniques a try and let me know how you get on!
If you or someone you know is in crisis, and potentially at risk of self harm or suicide, it is important to seek professional help NOW. Click here for links to emergency help.