Expressing Concern

Expressing your concerns to a friend about their behavior can be uncomfortable. We may be worried about how they will react or if this will ruin the friendship. Below are some practical tips to help navigate the conversation:

Be Honest and Specific
Explain why you want to have a serious talk and what you hope will happen...(and what you hope doesn't happen).

Example: " I am really worried about your drinking and I hope you won't just blow me off or think I am putting you down...I don't want to wreck our friendship..."

Describe Your Observations
It is important that you describe your observations in a non-judgmental way and express concern in your observations.

Example: "Since last Friday night you have come back to our room really drunk four times, twice you said you drove home drunk, and last night you threw up all over our floor..."

Express Your Feelings
Example: "I am really worried about you...I am scared to talk to you in a serious way because I think you don't believe you have a problem...and bringing it up might just piss you off..."

Offer Suggestions
Example: "I really wish you would go talk to someone about your drinking...see if you do have a problem. You could either talk with the nurse at the Wellness Center or the counselor... whoever you would be most comfortable with... I'll go with you... The services are free and they are on campus."

Listen Actively to What Your Friend Says
To listen "actively" does not require that you necessarily agree or disagree with your friend. The important part is that you accurately hear what your friend is saying so he or she feels heard and understood. One way to communicate that you are listening and understanding is to paraphrase what your friend says from their point of view and then restate your observations and recommendations.