The function RU OK?day in Australia is to help those who are struggling with life’s ups and downs. It’s important to ask someone who you feel may not be coping “RU OK?”

Most people ask “How’s it goin”? and receive a “Good” when they may not be.

When you ask RU OK?, listen to their answer – especially their tone.

If it’s upbeat, great. If it’s a little sad, ask more questions. Sometimes you need to say “You don’t sound that good, what’s happening?” or “How can I help?”

You can also end the conversation with “If at any point you would like to talk and need someone to simply listen, please call me. I’m there for you.”

If someone does want to talk, remember the first rule of communication (from the 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People):

“First seek to understand, then be understood”.

Allow them to speak and you listen. Ask questions to get clarity where it is needed.

When they have finished, ask if you can help in any way. Never jump in and try and fix their problems. They may simply want to vent and for someone to listen.

If they ask “What do you think I should do?”, give them options. Allow them to select the best option. Many make the mistake of saying “If I was you, I would do (this) …”

Well, you are not them and, second, if you were them, you most likely would not do what you suggested they should. Advice is easy and cheap! Give some options and let them make the decision that’s best for them. Then, support them with that decision.

Keep it simple.

PS If you’re having trouble with depression, have a look at my course on Dealing With Depression.