From What Source Are My Clouds Painted… and Why is My Friend’s Cloud Smudged?
October 14, 2022
We all have dark clouds that are intrusive throughout our days, and sometimes we can also see the clouds, troubles that our friends have. “Clouds” aren’t always bad, but it’s important to make sure that they don’t take over a person’s mind or life.
Most people can tell when they’re not doing well, but can they tell how their friends are doing? Who’s checking in on them, and how would you want someone to check in on you?
According to the National Education Association, “nearly three-quarters of U.S. parents said their child would benefit from mental health counseling – up from 68 percent in 2021.” (National Education Association).. While most people’s wording will be different, a large portion of the time students will agree that their mental health drops during the school year.
Both students and NAI psychology teacher Conrad Warner provided their viewpoints on students’ mental health, and direct advice on how to check in on your friends and how they’re doing.
Q: How has school influenced your mental state during this first month?
G.T. Mental state definitely deteriorates overall, the stress of school alongside sports impacts my sleep schedule negatively.
Q: Has there been a change in your friend’s demeanor since school started?
M.A. “I wouldn’t say their demeanor has changed, but their friend group. Which kinda results into them acting differently.”
Q: How do you check in on your friends?
M.A. “I usually text them, saying that I’m checking in on them to see how they’re doing, if they’re having a rough day. I never do it out of the ordinary.”
Q: Has a conflict ever emerged from trying to check in on a friend?
G.T. “Um, not really no, most of them are pretty grateful.”
Have you ever wanted your friends or someone to check in on you? Well, a lot of us do when we’re not doing too great, so it’s normal to want to be checked in on. A great step to make this more normalized is by taking the time to learn how to be able to be there for someone, so we can have someone there for ourselves as well.
Mr. Warner was given a different set of questions, questions that provide answers that will help us take those first steps.
Q: What is an Appropriate Way to Check In on a Friend’s Well-Being?
C.W. “I think, just asking and really meaning when you ask ‘how are you?’ Socially we have such a tendency to use that as a ‘hello’ or ‘good morning’ and we don’t really truly ask, and then take the time to stop and listen to each other. And so I think taking that time with most friends and really any relationship to really ask the question and really mean it. You know when I say ‘how are you?’ like ‘how are you?’ and to build that relationship and trust, that you know that I’m listening.”
Q: What are Some Phrases That Would Be Helpful to Use With a Friend That Has Not Been Doing Well?
“Hey, I noticed you haven’t seemed yourself. What’s going on?”
“How are you?”
“Is there anything you need?”
“If I can’t help you, can we find somebody who can?”
“Is there anything you need/want to talk about?”
“Hey, I noticed ____ is everything okay?”
“…sometimes it’s finding the time and atmosphere where you can talk.”
Doing this in a private manner would be highly recommended, for personal privacy can be highly important to more personal conversations for a lot of people.
Q: How can someone differentiate between a respectful way of asking a question and a disrespectful way?
C.W: “I think that considering a relationship, and all relationships are different, and so what does the nature of my relationship look like with you? Relationships drive everything that we do, and the type of relationship we have with somebody determines what type of tone or what type of what is appropriate and what we can and can’t talk about. I think also that the person knows that you’re coming from a place of care. If you have taken the time to establish that you’re coming from a place of care. A more direct question becomes okay.”
Q: What are some good boundaries to set/make with someone to tend to their needs/wants? (While there are personal boundaries, what are some good general boundaries to have?)
C.W: “That’s gonna vary based on the relationship again right, like your boundaries with one individual aren’t necessarily the boundaries with another.
What topics that we, based on our relationship, can talk about, and just making sure that you establish with people, I think that’s important in friendships sometimes. Sometimes they’re understood, sometimes they have to be verbally laid out is, “hey I care about you and because of that we probably shouldn’t talk about ____” I think setting boundaries on those topics.”