How to Tell Someone You’re Not Okay

When someone asks how you are, you probably respond with some variation of, “I’m fine,” no matter how you actually feel. Unfortunately, as a society, we’ve perfected the art of pretending we have it all together. The reason? Being honest and vulnerable is hard. But don’t worry; we have some tips that will make this easier – because it’s okay not to be okay, but it’s not okay to think you have to face things alone.

Be Prepared

Initiating conversations about your emotions can be scary, but preparing beforehand can alleviate some of your anxiety. Consider how you’ll approach the topic and what you hope to convey, tailoring your approach to suit your comfort level.

Say Something While You Do Something

If the thought of a face-to-face heart-to-heart feels overwhelming, consider engaging in an activity together. Whether it’s a casual stroll, a workout session, or a drive, the relaxed environment can ease the pressure and make it easier to express yourself.

Forget Perfect

This conversation won’t be perfect; it can be as direct or indirect as you like. The important part is that the conversation happens in a way that is most comfortable to you.

Go Virtual If You Need To

We’ve been taught that meaningful conversations should happen in person, but there’s no harm in sending a friend a text or email to check in. You can always meet in person after the fact, but if you can open up and express yourself better virtually, don’t deny yourself the opportunity.

You Don’t Have to Wait for Someone to Pop the Question

We’re often programmed to stay silent about our struggles unless someone else brings it up. But you shouldn’t think you have to wait for someone to ask how you’re doing. If you want to talk about it, trust that the person you confide in will want to listen.

What Do You Need?

Anticipate the inevitable question of “How can I help?” by identifying your needs beforehand. Being specific about the type of support you require can facilitate a more effective response from your confidant.

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