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How can I support the people around me?


  • If you are concerned about someone, ask them ‘are you ok?’
  • Listen.  Advice-giving is not very supportive, particularly early in a conversation.  People will usually ask if they want advice.
  • If you have time, make yourself available to a discussion and show through your body language and manner that you are ready to listen, for example invite the person to take a seat (next to you rather than across a desk from you), turn off your mobile phone (or explain your constraints about the phone) and sit with a relaxed and open posture.  Wait and give them space to speak.  Don’t be afraid of some silence. 
  • Providing support needs to be genuine. Don’t act as if you have the time or inclination to listen if you don’t.  Try and imagine what it would be like if the situation were reversed – how would you want someone to act towards you?  Treat people with courtesy and respect at all times.
  • Remember providing support is about being available not about fixing, you are not responsible for fixing another person
  • Take responsibility for your own behavior.  This means if you are unable or unwilling to help, take responsibility for that fact.  Don’t blame the other person or label them as problematic.
  • If you cannot provide it and it is clear than someone needs support tell them that you are unable to provide that support at that time and suggest an alternative.  Make a follow-up contact.
  • Providing support can be draining so look after yourself and access support for yourself when needed.