For many people, Christmas can be a time when they feel the need to hide what they’re really feeling.

If you’re worried about someone and don’t know how to start a difficult conversation, there are some things you can do to help them open up.

Find a good time and place

Respect what they tell you.

If someone doesn’t want your help, don’t push them. Help the other person to think of all the options available to them, but leave the choice to them. You don’t have to fix anything. The important thing is that you let them know you’re there for them.

Ask questions such as:

  • When – ‘When did you realise?’
  • Where – ‘Where did it happen?’
  • What – ‘What else happened?’
  • How – ‘How did that feel?’

The important thing to remember is to pay attention and focus only on them. Showing someone who might feel they have nobody, that there is someone who cares and wants to give them the listening ear they need, can be really reassuring.

“I didn’t know this person, I would never meet this person, but just by listening they made me feel a million times better” 
Samaritans caller

Show you understand.

Ask follow-up questions and repeat back the key things they tell you during the conversation.

Find out how they’re feeling too. Sometimes people will talk you through all the facts of what happened and why, but never say how they actually feel. Revealing your true emotions to someone can be a huge relief.

Sitting down with someone and listening to what they’re going through can really help that person. But it’s vital that you take time for yourself – hearing someone else’s worries or problems can affect you too.

Remember to do the things you enjoy, and if you need to talk, find someone you can trust and confide in. If it’s easier to talk to someone other than family or friends, why not contact Samaritans?

Remember, help is just a phone call away. If you’ve tried to start a conversation with someone you know and they’ve not felt completely comfortable talking about what’s bothering them, we could help. Our trained helpline volunteers will give them the time and space they need to talk about what’s troubling them.

 You can call Samaritans on Freephone 900 525 100. Email us at Or Call 634 325 906 to organise a WhatsApp call.