In the busy rush of the day, how often do we take the time to pause and pay attention to the people around us to ask – are you okay?
Many of us are juggling a multitude of hats to keep up with the frenetic pace that times are moving and can so easily miss the signs of how others around us are feeling.
We are wired for relationship and connection, and having meaningful conversations is something we can all do. All it takes is everyone being intentional to reach out to the people around us and offer a listening ear.
To ensure that we are reminded of its importance, R U OK? Day is an annual day on the second Thursday of September, dedicated for people to ask family, friends, classmates and co-workers the question R U OK?
If you want some simple tips to step out and engage and connect meaningfully we have summarised them from the R U OK website below:
1. Ask R U OK?
Be relaxed, friendly and concerned in your approach.
Help them open up by asking questions like “How are you going?” or “What’s been happening?”
Mention specific things that have made you concerned for them, like “You seem less chatty than usual. How are you going?»
If they push back, and don’t want to talk, don’t criticise them and avoid confrontation.
You could say: “Please call me if you ever want to chat” or “Is there someone else you’d rather talk to?”
2 Listen Without Judgement
Take what they say seriously and don’t interrupt or rush the conversation.
Don’t judge their experiences or reactions but acknowledge that things seem tough for them.
Encourage them to explain: “How are you feeling about that?” or “How long have you felt that way?”
Show you’ve listened by repeating back what you’ve heard in your own words to check if you’ve heard correctly.
If they need time to think, sit patiently with the silence.
3. Encourage Action
Ask: “what have you done in the past to manage similar situations?”
Ask: “how would you like me to support you?”
If it is something they have contended with for a while offer to help them find the right person to talk to for professional help.
Be positive about the role professionals’ play in getting through tough times.
4. Check In
Put a reminder in your diary to call them in a couple of weeks or sooner if they are really struggling.
You could say: “I’ve been thinking of you and want to know how you are going since we last chatted.”
Stay in touch and show genuine care for them as this makes a difference.
Remember these three simple yet powerful words R U OK? can open up a conversation that can change a life.
So let’s help start more meaningful conversations this year! R U OK?