How To Ask A Mate, "R u ok?" Without Making Things Awkward

"When I have asked a mate how he’s really doing it has always worked out for the better; if anything it made our friendship even stronger."

We’ve all had that car ride with a mate when we found out they were struggling with something we never expected. Whether that be insomnia, relationship issues, anxiety or a Cadbury Top Deck addiction, you’d be surprised what can be going on in the head of someone who seems to have their life “together”.

This is why the, “R u ok?” movement is so valuable: it reminds us, without the hype we’ve come to expect from the mainstream media, to casually check in with our friends and see how they’re doing. However, that’s easier said than done. Suicide prevention is a serious issue, and if you aren’t used to discussing “heavy” topics with your mates, you might not know how to bring it up.

But, without getting all doom and gloom on you, rates of depression are on the rise, and our social-media-status driven world is conditioning us to put a smiling Valencia-filtered face on things, regardless of how we really feel. So it’s important now, more than ever, to give each other the chance to open up, without fear of judgement. With that in mind—and to avoid you asking, “R u ok?” and getting little more than a, “Lol, yeah” in response—here’s your guide to asking a mate how he’s really going, without making things weird.

We spoke to Jamie Gonzalez, mentor, self help coach and founder of Limitless Living, to get some handy tips for the, “R u ok?” talk. He told us to keep it simple, and break it down into two parts. This begins with a casual question:

“The easiest way I find to start this conversation is to ask: how are things going mate?”

Listen to their response, he says, then ask “And how are you doing with all that?” Again, he advises, keep listening, and from this point employ your own judgement as to what to do next.

“I just listen (again) and sometimes if I feel like I can see my mate is still holding back a bit, but there is more behind his words, I ask ‘How are you feeling?’ For us guys, going straight to the ‘How are you feeling?’ question can be awkward enough—so asking more general questions to get things started is way easier and less intimidating for most of us.”

“You really never know what someone’s going through,” he adds, “And we can be amazing at hiding how we are really feeling out of embarrassment and our own self judgment. When I have asked a mate how he’s really doing it has always worked out for the better; if anything it made our friendship even stronger.”

“Having that helping hand can sometimes be the life saver you never knew it would be for someone.”

Here are a few more tips:

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