How to have this conversation

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iloveeveryone
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How to have this conversation

Unread post by iloveeveryone »

Hello, thank you so much!

There is a conversation I need to have with a person nearly my age who I don't know well at all. It is a relative whose situation has become quite uncertain after his mother got cancer recently. We are going to meet their family and my dad wants me to see how he is doing, and make him feel like we are there for him, and give him my number to talk whenever. I've never done something like this, and it is certainly a responsibility! I want to make it a conversation that actually helps him and not just a formality, although we are not actually close. How will this conversation proceed? How can I do it well? is it even possible, in the one hour we will be meeting?


I would love to receive any perspective on this!
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Michaela
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Re: How to have this conversation

Unread post by Michaela »

Hi iloveeveryone,

It is really great and honorable to see you wanting to step up and support someone, especially someone you don’t know very well. Support can look like a lot of different things depending on the person, time, and situation. It's important to understand that even though you may reach out to them, they might not want to share anything with you or have specific support from you at the moment and it's important to respect those boundaries and not take it personally.

First, the most helpful thing might just be having a friendly conversation to get to know each other better so that they feel comfortable with you if they do want to support from you in the future. That might be all that you talk about when you connect with them the first time and that's a great place to start. If you decide that having a conversation about offering support feels right, I can offer a few tips, but this is definitely not an exhaustive list. You mentioned that this is new for you and it's totally alright to admit that to them too, that you're not entirely sure what the right thing to do is but that you are here. Suggesting a couple of specific ways you could help support them and get to know them more instead of blanket phrases like "let me know if there is anything I can do" can help to take the burden of reaching out off of them. For example, suggesting things like weekly text check-in's or scheduling regular movie nights or times for a shared hobby etc. And then following through on whatever you both decide. Their answer to this question also might be that what they need is nothing and that's totally fine because giving them privacy may be the most supportive thing you can do at the moment. You never want to push someone to disclose anything to you, especially since you do not have a relationship with this person yet.

There really isn't a single answer to how the conversation may proceed or what is the best thing to say. It's a great first step to simply connect with them and go slowly and at whatever pace that feels right for them. Are there other worries, in particular, about this conversation that you are having?
iloveeveryone
not a newbie
Posts: 49
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2021 12:27 am
Age: 18
Awesomeness Quotient: being "emotional"
Primary language: English
Pronouns: she/her
Sexual identity and orientation: heterosexual
Location: India

Re: How to have this conversation

Unread post by iloveeveryone »

Thank you so much! I will keep these things in mind.

I am only a bit nervous that I might be shy to talk to this person and might not be able to say anything good at all, but I guess I just have to try.

Also, I've never met a family who is going through a bad time like this, and I hope I don't feel too sad afterward. Heh.
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