I keep seeing memes about “check on your [insert] friends too” It is a good concept because it allows persons to think about someone they should check-in with but haven’t for whatever reason. It holds some level of accountability and shows us that we should be interdependent. When you do a check-in, how is it done? Is it through texting, calling, watching their social media account or planning a meet up (not during this time, but you get the idea)? On a scale of “putting in the minimal effort” to “I care enough”; I would say watching their social media account, texting, calling (includes video chat) and planning to meet up.
- Watching a person’s account is good because you can get clues that help when taking further action, but if you are just scrolling past, then, it’s not worth it.
- Texting is helping because you are making some effort. Try shying away from asking the cliche questions. If you are close with that person, then ask questions that convey you are listening. It’s hard at first, but practice makes perfect.
- Moving on to calling: This is the best thing for when distance is an issue. You can get a lot from someone’s tone even when they use a different octave. Also, it’s worth taking it a step further to video call. There are so many ways to accomplish this, and it is comforting for the person on the other end.
- Meeting up seems the best way as you connect on different levels and you also observe things which aren’t noticeable during a phone call. Plus, it’s always good to make new memories for the next social media story.
With all this; I feel I need to ask, how well do you know your friends? There have been so many cases of celebrity suicides and one common pattern is that their friends said that they looked happy or they seemed “normal”. Stars are paid to portray different personas; trying to be happy was one more thing to add to the list. Now let’s move a little closer to home. What about people in your community? What about those who haven’t perfected the art of masking their feelings or mannerisms? I’ve heard cases of people committing suicide, and people said they didn’t appear any different. If the right questions were asked, maybe red flags would be more visible. It’s always good to remember that people have different ways of expressing themselves when talking is difficult.
I’ve had cases where I felt sad, would get messages. I would say I’m ok, ask them the same, and that would be the end of the conversation. There would be no follow up question or response that showed a level of interest. It made things a bit more depressing, and I ended up asking myself if the original text was needed. Another example was when I posted a picture on Instagram. It was different from what I usually posted, but in the caption, I stated how I flooded your timeline to distract myself from my anxiety. Out of all the comments and likes, only two people went the extra step to offer some advice. Some of you might think, why post there? Instagram is not that kind of place.
For those who think that, let me remind you that people express their anxiety or fears in different ways. I, personally, am not comfortable with speaking about my issues, so I find various outlets; I write, pray or cry, but I find an outlet. Other people may post videos, post memes, or go silent. There isn’t one way to ask for help, so there shouldn’t be one method in reaching out.
Everyone is busy, but that shouldn’t be a reason to neglect your responsibility to care for your tribe members. Humans beings, like other species, are social creatures and should show empathy to others. At this time in our lives, we encounter so many things vying for our attention, but, we need to make an effort to prioritise the essentials. At any point, there can be a change in our circumstances. Don’t put off what you can do today and don’t downplay your impact on the world. Be kind to others; message, be observant and invest in the conversation. It may seem simple, but it goes a long way.
Nomadic Free Spirit