How to Talk to Your Friend


1. Find the right time and place

  • Locate a private space free of distractions
  • Ask your friend where they feel comfortable talking.
  • Make sure to have enough time to talk—it would be hard to fully support your friend if you were rushed for time.

2. Build Trust and Rapport

  • Establish safety with your friend.
  • Be present and accessible.
  • Avoid Judgment—if someone feels like they are being judged, they are not likely to trust that person.
  • Convey your concern for your friend's wellbeing with specific statements such as "I want to talk to you because I am worried about you," or "Our friendship means a lot to me, I don't like to see what's been happening."

3. Active Listening

  • Seek to understand their situation, meaning, and emotions.
  • Listen for the emotions behind what they are saying.
  • Use non-verbal gestures that say, “I’m listening, please continue”
  • For more active listening skills tips click here

4. If your friend needs help solving a problem

  • Key Message: Help your friend find their own solution!
  • For more information on helping a friend solve a problem click here

5. Know possible resources

If your friend is a CU-Boulder student, CAPS is a free resource for them to use.

Counseling and Psychological Services

C4C, Room S440 (303)-492-6766

Walk in Hours: M-F, 10am-4pm

For more resources check out our On-Campus or Off-Campus Resource pages.

6. Follow up

  • Let your friend know that you are there to support them and leave the door open for further conversations.
  • Be sure to check in with your friend. This will let them know that you are thinking.    
  • If they decide to get support from CAPS or other campus resources, check in to see how it went.


Information from Andrea Iglesias, Psy.D. , Basic Helping Skills ppt.