Have a concern about a friend or colleague?

Ever notice when a colleague or friend is sullen, withdrawn or seems troubled? We may be aware they are not their normal self, appear more irritable, anxious or sad for a period of time. Often we hesitate in sharing our concern for them because we don’t want to be intrusive or offend them. Although having a conversation and noting your observations with them may be what they need.  Following are some suggestions to prepare to share your concern.   

Sharing your concern 

  • Detail what you observe. 
    Objectively state what you have seen and avoid making any assumptions about why the colleague is distressed
  • State your concern.  
    Indicate that you are concerned about their well-being and that you can help, if they want with identifying resources or exploring options.
  • Listen & Acknowledge
    What you hear, without judgment.  Give them your undivided attention.  Reflect what they are saying without agreeing or disagreeing with them and without stating an opinion.
  • Express empathy for them. 
    Note what you hear they are feeling.
  • Inquire - What have you tried so far?
  • Encourage them.
    Note the value of talking  about their issues with someone, and how, at times that can be a normal way to dissipate their feelings and distress.
  • Provide resource options. 
  • Suggest considering talking to a professional staff member at FASAP (Faculty and Staff Assistance Program)
    Remind them that it is no charge to them and is confidential.  Note that talking to a FASAP staff member is a mature, healthy step to take, and is not a sign of weakness. 

Apprehensive about sharing your Concern? – If you could use an objective and professional ear and some coaching in how to approach a friend or colleague FASAP Counselors are available at 936-8660 or email fasap@umich.edu

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