STOP – Talk to me. I care.

September 08 2020 | Dave Fardoe

How often are those words used? How often do we hear “I’m fine…” and accept that. Not long ago I was talking to a colleague and they told me about an incident in their life.. I listened and nodded, as you do. And when they had finished I asked them “and how are you?”

“I’m fine, you know it’s one of those life things….I’m ok.” again, I nodded and paused. “Yes, it is. So, really, How are you?”

This was the point the conversation turned. You see we are very well conditioned to do the polite thing, the “how are you?”, “I’m fine” bit – we all do it and sometimes that’s absolutely right. Sometimes it isn’t. How do you know the difference? Whatever side you are on? On the one hand you may feel ill equipped to deal with the answer if you dare to ask a second time, on the other you may feel pressurised to reveal something to a person you don’t trust. It’s a hard place to find yourself either way. What’s the key?

Well, for me it’s authenticity – I’m no psychotherapist, I make no such claims, yet I’ve seen many in action, and worked closely with a few very skilled people. Those that are on top of this seem to have a way making the environment ‘safe’ almost from the get go, and it’s in no small part to the fact that they are authentic – they genuinely care. Amongst them is the universal trait of saying what they can do, and, what they can’t, even if they wanted to. They won’t make false promises. They will point you in the right direction and go out of their way to discover what direction that is, yet they won’t take you down a path they are ill equipped for.

So how does this help us, the average person in the street? Well, we are all equipped to a degree, we can all ask a second time, and, if the person does ask for a lifeline we can help them find it. Encourage them to seek help, to speak to a GP or the HR department, if need be go to HR with them. We can all take the time to help another in this way, and we don’t require specialist skills or training to do it. Just courage to ask and the courage to say, this is what I can offer (and only that).

If you find yourself on the otherside of the conversation, again be genuine and authentic, both with yourself and the colleague – “Thanks for asking, I’m not 100%, yet this isn’t the place for me to talk about it” is a perfectly fair response, yet take that as a big hint from the universe that it wants you to get support from somewhere. Find that somewhere.

After months of Covid-19, lockdowns and gradual returns to work – our anxiety is high – there could be lot’s of situation we now encounter that are new and scary. Slow down, breath and be authentic with your self and others – Can you help, will you help? Are you able to disclose this fear or not? Within all of this be bold enough to listen and ask, twice.

Our young have endured lockdown and the pandemic too. They often operate almost on a different level to the adults around them. Different frames of reference, even, different language to us. Being authentic with your kids is really hard. you have to be the parent right? Well, Yes, you do and showing that you are genuine is part of that. Kids, Teenagers need leadership not dictatorship. yet keep in mind you are the parent and as such have an air of mystic around you, don’t feel offended or upset if your kids are talking to their friends parents, it’s highly likley that those parents kids are talking to you.

Stay safe and tread gently


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