Knowing how to bring up a sensitive subject is challenging for all of us, and sometimes it is easier to say nothing. But during this pandemic, it’s important we reach out to others who may be struggling. It’s helpful if you approach the person with only two goals in mind, to be heard and to show you care. You don’t need to convince the other person to see things your way, nor do you need to try to push for a particular result. You want to be heard and show you care. The rest is up to them.

It’s easiest to be heard if you are factual. “I’ve noticed that you have drank every night this week,” is a fact. “You’ve been drinking too much lately,” is an opinion. Opinions often sound like judgements and people don’t usually like it. So, stick to the facts, be brief, express concern, and then stop. If the person responds defensively, just repeat you’re concerned and let it go. Even if nothing changes, at least they heard you. And they know you care.

Jenny DeReis, MC Psych, CCC

Walmsley EFAP