How to have a conversation that could change a life

How to have a conversation that could change a life

R U OK? Day is thankfully well recognised now in our communities, however has the message really hit home? Would you know how to have a conversation with someone you care for that can have wide ranging impacts?

Too often, we simply overlook the depth of such a simple question – are you ok?

We need to look past having a superficial conversation and truly understand how to ask someone if their life is providing them with the joy they deserve.

What are the fundamentals of an impactful conversation?

R U OK? Day focuses on four key areas – Asking R U OK?, Listening, Encouraging Action, and Checking In.

The first step to having that chat is to Ask R U OK?
You should consider choosing the appropriate time and place and making sure you’re not rushed when you’re having that conversation.

If there is someone you are worried about, it’s important you yourself feel as equipped and prepared as possible to provide support. Your eyes and ears are your best assets, you will know when the best time possible time will be, based on your knowledge of the person.

The second step is listening.
Listening is more than just letting the words seep into your mind, it about listening with an open and sensitive mind. This is all about letting that person share their story, so use open questions and give them the time and space to share.

Thirdly is taking the right action.
Once you have used your open mind and listened, it’s important to encourage some form of action. This is about helping them identify the next steps that they can take to better manage the situation.

This could be a range of different activities ranging from simple self-care of eating well and exercising through to accessing appropriate professional support.

The next step in the cycle is to check in.
Checking in is a critical part of having an impactful conversation, it allows you to circle back and re-assess the situation with the person who is struggling.

It’s important that you see how they’re going, see how they’ve gone with the actions that you talked about, and just making sure that they’ve got that support network around them.
It’s also a perfect time to remind them that they know that people care, and that people are looking out for them as they’re going through this tough time.

What happens if someone says they are not ok?
It is so important to know how to respond if someone says they’re not ok and you must have an understanding on how to proceed with the conversation.

The RUOK website does provide you with some clear steps you can take to show someone that they’re supported, and how to help them find strategies to cope during this time.
At Haven Psychology we are also available to support those who are supporting loved ones who are having troubled times.

Final thoughts
Asking someone if they are ok, is a powerful action. An action that has far reaching implications.
If someone replies that they are ok, they’ll now know you’re someone who cares enough to ask. And if they’re not, you could significantly change their life with just one question.

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