When’s the last time you checked on your friends, siblings or anyone close to you? I don’t mean just a casual WhatsApp message, tweet or phone call. I mean a genuine conversation with them to ask how they are, how their life is going and if there’s anything troubling their mind.
You see, we don’t realise it, but sometimes, the people closest to us, are the ones battling serious issues we read and hear about. We’re all busy living our lives that we often forget to check on the lives near us; unaware of the struggles the face.
The reality is, a lot of us struggle with some form of depression, anxiety or stress but are too afraid to say it as a result of the associated social stigma. This is especially true with black men as they either don’t know what they are going through or they are too embarrassed to express themselves due to the fear that others won’t understand or care.
Life is hard and the struggle can cause an array of negative effects to manifest. However, since these mental issues don’t typically show physical symptoms, we as friends or siblings don’t see anything wrong with the people around us suffering or notice that they are secretly dying inside.
Moreover, if you’re a person going through something, explaining your feelings to someone else is never easy; especially if you’re introverted, from a BME background or you naturally don’t talk a lot. This is why it’s essential to have open communication with your loved ones to make them feel comfortable enough to share their mind, and for them to know you’re there for them no matter what.
As an ambivert who leans heavily on the introvert side, I’m usually the person people call, so if my phone doesn’t ring, I usually assume everyone’s okay – a habit I need to stop. As part of my positive journey this year, one of my goals is to be more proactive with my communication with friends and family. Instead of being lazy or being ‘too busy’, I want to start being the one who checks up on people and engages them to see how they are.
Pain changes people, sometimes for the worst, so if you’re too busy living your life to check in on your loved ones, you may never see these changes until it’s too late. So please, do yourself and your loved ones a favour and drop by their place or pick up the phone (don’t just text, actually call). Make a conscious effort to see how they’re doing. They may be at the point of no return, waiting for someone to come and save them.
Here are some takeaways about communication:
- Schedule regular monthly (or weekly if you all have the time) catch-ups with your close friends and family. You can go out, watch a movie or just chill inside – whatever you do, the main thing is to make time for each other.
- Share great moments with your friends as and when you see them. The simple acts of smiling and laughing can erase all of the bad (even if it’s for a few minutes).
- When your loved ones open up and share their troubles with you, listen with understanding and respond with kindness. The last thing they want to hear is judgement, sarcasm or fake sympathy.
Thank you for reading my post. If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to my mailing list.
P.S. No matter what you’re going through, remember #YouCanGetThroughThis.