Getting comfortable talking

A beginners guide to talking

There is a lot you can’t do right now but one thing you can do is talk. 

As people feel increasingly isolated and alone it can be easy to stop talking and shut off. This is dangerous, we at The Male Hug know that talking helps, a problem shared really is a problem halved. 

However starting the conversation with someone you care about can be tough and this guide is designed to help the conversation. 

You might not want to call the person out of the blue, it might be a good idea to pre-empt with a text message.

  • Hello it’s been a while, how are you?  
  • Hey I just thought I’d check in and see how you are have you got time to chat?  
  • I miss our catch ups, thought I would say hello and see how you’re going?
  • I’m bored how are you?
  • It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you so I thought I’d see how you are?

For the conversation

  • If you want someone to open up it really helps if you share your own feelings and experience. Help the person see they’re not alone. If you or someone you know is struggling with lockdown talking about your own or their experiences might be a good way of starting a dialogue. Be open and authentic yourself. 
  • Be Positive. Talk about wellbeing, maybe how you are exercising or any positive distractions and hobbies. How much Fall Guys / COD can you play while “working from home”?
  • Try to have a laugh and remember happier times. 
  • The most important part of a conversation is listening. Yes that’s right a conversation is a two way street and by saying nothing you are listening and this lets your friend know they are heard. When have you a conversation listen with an open mind.
  • You are there to listen and not judge or give answers, resist the temptation to jump to solutions. Ask open ended questions about what they are doing and how they are feeling.
  • Let them lead the discussion at their own pace – Don’t put pressure on them to tell you anything, don’t try to second guess their feelings and certainly don’t say ‘you know how they feel’ as you probably don’t.
  • If you know the person, make plans for the future, even if they are not concrete it’s a nice idea to pencil in a game of golf or a couple of beers.
  • Be consistent and available, always offer another time to chat.

Ideas for opening conversation phrases

How are you going /  How are you finding lockdown?

How are you feeling about lockdown?

What are you most looking forward to after this?

What’s been happening, have you caught up with anyone else?

Other helpful resources

When we need to refer people you will need to use your judgment to assess where is the most appropriate place.

In the most serious of cases is could be 000 or LifeLine  (13 11 14).

However there are other more bespoke services that have specialist people, often peers who have been through situations related to their specialist area of support.  

Also if you have access the following link uses Google maps to fine local specialist mental health support

St Vincent’s Psychiatric TriageMelbourne hospital offering emergency mental health support1300 558 862
Suicide Call BackSuicide call back  24-hour crisis support and counselling1300 659 467
The LineFor Young people with relationship problems1800 695 463
AgeingInformation for older people and their carers1800 500 853
The Butterfly FoundationPeer support for those with eating disorders1800 33 4673
Gambling helplineExpert support for those with gambling problems1800 858 858
Open ArmsSupport for Veterans and Military personnel1800 011 046
Bush support linePeer practical support for those people in rural and remote areas1800 805 391
DirectlineSupport for people impacted by drug use1800 888 236
Safe StepsFamily violence support1800 015 188
Kids HelplineSupport for the under 25s1800 551800
SaneProfessional councillors for complex mental health issues . NOT a crisis line1800 18 7263
Dads In DistressFor dads with parenting or access problems1300 853 437
PandaPerinatal Anxiety & Depression 1300 726 306
ParentlineParents and carers with children from birth to 18 years13 22 89
SandsStill life and miscarriage1300 072 637
Gay and Lesbian SwitchboardGay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (GLBTI)9663 2939 or 1800 184 527
QLifeLGBTI1800 184 527
Sexual Assault Crisis Line VictoriaFor Victims of sexual assault1800 806 292
Blue Knot FoundationSexual Abuse survivors1300 657 380


Download this resource