Here are some tips on how to help and approach a conversation


concern for friendTalk to them in a private space when both of you have time and are not rushed or preoccupied.

Be direct and specific about your concerns. Express your concern in behavioral, nonjudgmental and caring terms.  For example, “You look stressed.  I’m concerned about you. Can you tell me what’s going on?”

Listen sensitively.

Be aware of campus resources and make a referral to someone in a position to help. (SJU resources)

Follow up with your friend.  Check in with them later to find out how he or she is doing.

Provide appropriate support, but know your limits and who else can help.


concern for friend alcoholIt needs to be well-timed:  Don’t confront the person when they are drunk or high.

Be informed:  Know the dangers of drinking to excess, how to drink at a low-risk level, and resources for support.  (Alcohol Resources)

Discuss alcohol issues openly:  Letting the person you are concerned about know that you are open to listening to  them without being judgmental.

Don’t expect change immediately:  Be supportive, but don’t help or “enable” them to continue with the problem.

 What to Expect:

A lot of excuses

Empty promises

Attempts to change the conversation

Attempts to minimize the behavior as “No Big Deal!”

That you can make a difference