students walking on campus

Being a True Friend

Express your concern in an honest, supportive, & non-critical way:

  • I am worried about you.
  • I care about what happens to you.
  • I would like to find a way to help you.
  • I want to be sure you are taking good care of yourself.

Identify what is troubling, be specific if possible - avoid labels.

  • It looks like you are losing a lot of weight.
  • It seems to me that you have been crying almost every day.
  • It seems you were drinking a lot last night.
  • It seems like you have been overwhelmed by school.
  • You seem unhappy about your relationship.
  • I am worried that (drug) is affecting how you think and act.

Offer to help:

  • What can I do to help you?
  • I would like to hear about what is bothering you.
  • I know someone who could help with this.
  • Have you thought about getting help from ....
    • Counseling and Psychological Services
    • Student Health
    • Dean’s Office
    • Center for Academic Excellence  
    • Office of Diversity
    • I will go with you.

Be prepared that your message may not be heard the first time. You may have to bring up the concern more than once. Propose an activity to help decompress:

  • Would you like to... (something fun)?
  • Let’s go for a (walk, run, movie, dinner, etc.).

Call CAPS for a consultation if you need one. 

  • Can be anonymous

In an urgent situation, take protective action.

  • Call 911
  • Take friend to emergency room
  • AND

  • Call friend's family member and inform them of concerns.

Alice Libet 2006
Reviewed 2/8/2010