We need to talk.
These four little words can strike fear in my heart—and it doesn’t matter who says them.
They’re ominous and they’re scary. But their message is so bloody important, just not in the way you probably think.
Today’s world is a busy one; time is short, moments are fleeting and communication comes in hundreds of forms.
We tweet, text, like and email. We Snapchat, Facebook, and WhatsApp. We send photos, videos and jokes.
We communicate, but we don’t connect.
It’s time to bring back the art of conversation. To ask a question and stop long enough to listen to the answer.
Everyday we use the phrase ‘hey, how are you?’ as a greeting, but rarely do we hear the response. We tend to just assume the person we are asking is okay, that we would know if they weren’t.
But that isn’t always the case; some people are pretty damn good at hiding their feelings, putting on a brave face and delving deep into the world of denial. Until it all comes crashes down.
Anyone who has battled anxiety or depression will understand how hard it can be to admit that you’re doing it tough.
No one wants to be thought of as a whinger.
Except me, I whinge to my family and friends ALL THE TIME, but mostly it’s about the little things, because even I find it hard to talk about those big things that keep me awake at 3am.
But it’s not whinging; it’s talking and it’s important.
And let’s face it, life isn’t all rainbows and cupcakes.
Sometimes, it’s bloody hard. Like pushing a pram uphill with an elephant on your back and a storm cloud raining down on you.
Good people are slipping through the cracks and something as simple as a meaningful, heartfelt conversation could pull them back.
Just weeks ago, the world collectively mourned the loss of comedic genius Robin Williams. We struggled to understand how a man who had brought so much laughter to so many could have battled demons so dark that he couldn’t go on.
Sadly, for every well-publicised loss there are thousands of others; people whose deaths may not have made world news, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t mean the world to someone.
Sure, it can be tricky to know how to start a conversation with someone you know is doing it tough, but all you need to do is ask and listen.
Probably don’t start with ‘we need to talk’ or if they’re anything like me, they’ll run for the hills (even with the pram, the elephant and the storm clouds) … instead start with something as simple as three little words: ‘Are you okay?’
RUOK? have put together some awesome tips on how to start a conversation and how to respond if someone has come to you for help (because saying things like ‘it will be okay’, ‘things will get better’ and ‘look on the bright side’ aren’t very helpful!). Check them out here.
So today—and everyday—take a moment, grab a cuppa, phone a friend or loved one and ask ‘Are you okay?”.
You won’t regret it. And you just might save a life.
Do you or a loved one need help? Find help now, click here, or call Lifeline (24/7) on 13 11 14.
R U OK? is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to encouraging and empowering all people to ask “are you ok?” of anyone struggling with life.