It’s fair to say that most people have felt or are currently feeling the impact of Covid-19.
While there has been (in many cases) more time to spend with loved ones and appreciate our homes, there has also been home-schooling, restrictions on movement, elections, and uncertainty for many business owners. So, it’s no wonder that we constantly find ourselves asking each people if they’re OK, over and over again.
Even with the best intentions of wanting to be present and help those around us, the act of asking someone if they’re OK also directly draws their attention to the fact that something is wrong. In hard times, this can be a bit discouraging but there are plenty of ways to work around it…
1. Ask, “What can I do to support you?”
When you sense that something is amiss, chances are, you’re right. At this stage, asking someone if they’re OK isn’t productive as you already know that they’re facing a challenge. But, what you can do is be supportive in anyway that you can. By showing them that you’re interested in making their situation better, you can create a situation that enables them to focus on the outcome instead of the problem.
2. Say, “I’m here if you need to vent”
Listening. The most powerful (and meaningful) thing that you can offer your loved ones right now. First things first, acknowledge the type of person that you’re dealing with. Are they a talker? Or, do they tend to open up over time? That will give you an indication whether you should give them some space or get them talking then and there. Try not to be forceful or overstep – if you’re the right person, they’ll open up when they are ready to.
3. Offer to grab them lunch or a coffee
Sometimes getting all it takes is a change of scene to get someone to open up. Plus, small acts of kindness are also exactly what we all need when we’re feeling challenged. Even in a remote and socially distanced world, this is still possible. With services like UberEats, JustEat (in the UK) and Deliveroo, you can have some comfort food (or coffee) sent straight to someone’s door, letting them know that you’re thinking of them. A great way to cheer them up and potentially get them talking about what’s on their mind.
4. Rephrase the question
Opening with ‘are you ok?’ gives the person on the receiving end of the question very little room to offer a sufficient answer. You’re either going to get something along the lines of ‘yes, I’m good’, ‘I don’t want to talk about it’, or ‘no, I’m not ok’. So, it’s key to ask a question that provides them with the space to elaborate where they can. That way, you get the additional context that you need to be able to step in and help.
We hope that these alternatives have been useful – do you have any great ways to get people talking when they’re down? Mention them in the comments below.