Choose the right time
This is really important. Try to choose a time when you and your friend are both feeling calm, you have plenty of time to talk, and you won’t be interrupted.
Before you start, check how your friend is feeling. If they’ve had a really difficult day, it may not be the best time. Try to avoid times when you’ve been drinking or there are lots of people around.
It’s normal to feel nervous about having a difficult conversation. Planning what you’re going to say beforehand can help you feel better prepared and stay calmer.
Stick to the facts
Try to explain to your friend exactly what you’re worried about. Stick to the facts and avoid statements that make it sound like you’re judging them.
For example, avoid saying things like “You’re disgusting” or “How could you do that?” Instead, try statements like “What happened wasn’t okay” or “I think what you did could really hurt someone”.
This can be tricky, especially when you’re worried about your friend and their behaviour. You might be annoyed or even angry about how they’re behaving.
But try to make it clear that it’s your friend’s behaviour you are concerned about. Make it clear to them that you don’t think they’re a bad person. This will help show them that you care and you’re there to help.
Make sure you listen to your friend and give them time to speak about how they feel.
Your friend may not have talked about this before, so it may take them time to work out what they want to say. Give them time to think about what you’ve said, too – be patient.
Talk about support
Talk to your friend about the support they can get to stop their harmful behaviour. This could include speaking to an adult they trust, like a parent, carer or teacher. Or they can check out the Shore website or our email services for more support and advice.
Be there for your friend
Your friend may want to talk to you again about their behaviour and about how to get help. If you can, keep supporting your friend to get help. And check in with them on how they’re feeling sometimes. This will be a difficult time for them, and knowing you’re there for them can mean a lot.
Take care of yourself
And finally, remember to look after yourself. Having these kinds of conversations with friends can be really nerve-wracking. You may feel anxious, worried or upset.
Remember, you’re not alone and it isn’t your responsibility to “fix the problem”. It is great that you’re supporting your friend, but make sure you understand how it’s affecting you too.