These nikkas hatin on me, your girlfriends want me
and bad decisions always make for the best stories
And I don’t know what you want from me
because you the one I’m trying to wake up to every damn mornin
and the people ‘bout to know, they all ‘bout to see us
Audio Push - Shine
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen social media go nuts with suicide prevention. And rightfully so. If you’re hurting, you need to seek help. Not should. Need. But even if you’re not in bad shape, you need to take responsibility for those who are.
Learn How: My freshman year, I was walking to class when I ran into a couple of cute girls I knew from the dorms. An easy decision was to blow off Econ 101b and join them. Turns out they were on their way to a job interview to be a peer counselor. After a semester of training (and eye humping the two cute girls), I spent a couple years talking to people who were going through a rough time. To be honest, most people’s complaints were ridiculous. Their roommate was mean. Their dad yelled at them. But it taught me to listen and emphasize. If you’re like me, people getting real makes you naturally uncomfortable. But practice. Pretty soon that discomfort will give way to compassion and you’ll be able to connect with total strangers on a much deeper level.
The Right Question. I’ve learned that most people who are really hurting try making casual statements, hoping that someone will give them the opportunity to open up. Unfortunately this rarely works and people change the subject as soon as they sense the conversation getting weird. Don’t be that guy. Practice this phrase: “How’s that sittin’ with you?” As in (statement): “I’ve been super busy lately because my Dad just died” (answer) “How’s that sittin’ with you?” Nine times out of 10 this phrase will launch the conversation. Now it’s your job just to listen.
Don’t try to solve the problem. In any educated discussion there is a problem, conjecture, and then a solution. This isn’t one of them. Just be a sounding board. Try staying neutral. If your buddy is in a fight with his girlfriend, tell him she’s being a b*tch but maybe you could see where she’s getting it from. This conversation is about talking it out. Not solving an equation.
Drastic Steps When Called. Most of the time, people just want to vent. Other times, like in the case of Robin Williams, people take it to the next level. If you get a feeling that someone is going to hurt themselves or others, do what you need to do to prevent it. In the moment you’ll feel like you’re betraying their trust. But the world isn’t a place for a pacifist. A pissed off friend is better than no friend at all.
You’re not a sponge. After a couple years doing the peer counseling thing, I had to quit. I was dwelling on the problems of other people to the point where it was affecting my own relationships. You have to know your emotional limits. If you’ve crossed the barrier, bring it back. They call it a “Bleeding Heart” for a reason.