Start by asking how they are feeling.
“How are things at home?”
“You haven’t seemed yourself lately… are you feeling OK?”
‘I’ve noticed you’ve seemed pretty flat lately...you OK?’
Asking the right questions at the right time is key to helping someone open up.
If you think a man is struggling, stressed, unhappy or angry, ASK a few questions to show that you care.
Want to help a guy talk about how he’s feeling?
Try: “This week’s been brutal for me, how’ve you been holding up?”
Or, try talking about things he cares about to get a sense of how he’s going:
“How’s work these days?”“How are things with your partner/son/daughter going?”
Consider if it’s appropriate
It's important to find the right time and place to have sensitive conversations. It could be hard to focus if it’s dinner time or there’s a lot of noise in the background, for example. Try and find somewhere private, calm, and appropriate to help him feel at ease and open to sharing. Don’t get hung up on everything being perfect. Even if you can’t be face to face, you can talk to him as if you’re sitting side-by-side and putting yourself out there with what and how you share.
Use open-ended questions
Open-ended questions are a great way to stimulate meaningful conversations, to keep it flowing and to show that you genuinely care. Open-ended questions are questions that need more than a single word answer. Open-ended questions give the other person a chance to share more information.
Open questions sound like: ‘How are you feeling today?’ or “What’s been on your mind lately?”
Closed questions like “Do you feel angry?” tend to lead to one-word answers, like ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Asking open-ended questions requires you to pay close attention, to be specific and enquire from a place of genuine care.
Model honest conversations
Real conversations go beyond subjects like work, sport or what you’re watching on Netflix. Demonstrating your own ability to be honest, open, and vulnerable is a great way to help someone open up. Sharing your own struggles helps to destigmatize issues while making strides towards developing a closer, more meaningful relationship.
If you think someone is struggling with their mental health don’t be afraid to ask them if there’s anything you can do to better support them – this will not make things worse.