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Tips to Help You Master the Art of Checking In on Others

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If only we could open up each other’s hearts to see the struggles and pain that different people go through daily! But we can’t. We can only use our intuition or ask our circle how they are faring on.

The truth is that most Kenyans are going through hell. It could be due to the high cost of living or the skyrocketing unemployment rates. Perhaps it’s the number of businesses closing down daily.

The frustration and anger can be seen on the news, social media, and personal stories. A good number of people don’t even know there’s a volcano brewing inside, waiting to erupt.

As the frustration increases, it is becoming increasingly important to be our brother’s keeper. You and I must take the responsibility to start checking in on each other.

Be your brother’s keeper

Keeping tabs of friends’ and family members’ life is not being nosy. It’s caring. However, don’t go overboard digging into the nitty-gritty. A five-minute call to know how someone is faring on is enough.

However, do more than just “mambo?” Carefully choose your words so that the person on the other end of the line can give you a thoughtful response. For example, instead of the usual, “how are you?” (We all know the answer is, “I’m fine”) Try, “how are you feeling today?” The person being asked this question will have to pause for a second and think about how they feel before answering.

Secondly, learn to prompt without being intrusive. If their response is, “I’m feeling stressed today.” You can prompt further to find out the cause of the stress. If they discuss it, great. If not, let them know you’ll check in on them again to see if the situation is getting better. Please, make an effort and call back as you promised.

Third, don’t make fun of others’ struggles. Suppose someone is feeling stressed because their partner left. In that case, the sane thing to do is comfort them instead of bursting into laughter or making an insensitive comment on how you knew the relationship wasn’t going to amount to anything. Be sensitive!

Lastly, if a friend doesn’t pick up your call, send a message. If there is no response for hours or days, pay a visit to their job or home. It might look like you are forcing yourself into a friend’s life, but there are also chances that you might be saving a life.

Go out of your way if you have to

When friends that you used to communicate with frequently go quiet all of a sudden, there are two possible reasons for this. It could be they’ve outgrown your friendship, or they are going through a tough situation and don’t have the courage to seek help.

Suppose you are no longer adding value to the friendship; accept this and let them be. In the case that they haven’t verbalized that, go out of your way to let them know that you are there for them.

  • The simple act of inviting a friend for a meal or tea can go a long way in reviving dampened spirits.
  • Sacrificing a few shillings to shop for someone who recently lost a job can mean the world to that person.
  • Sending a list of uplifting songs to a friend drowning in hopelessness can be the small miracle they needed.
  • Sharing a link to a positive mindset guided meditation can help a friend break the chain of defeating thoughts.

These are just small things you can do to brighten someone’s day. The idea is to provide any form of support that will ease someone’s pain or burden.

Gentlemen, sharing your emotions is not weak

Men don’t generally express their emotions. If they do, they are often perceived as being weak. It’s no wonder that the suicide rate is higher among men than women.

At an early age, men are groomed to suppress their emotions. And so they struggle with anxiety, stress, depression, and suicidal thoughts in silence.

Even if they were to share their frustrations, their friends wouldn’t know what to do since they’ve not been taught how to handle or deal with emotions. Instead of providing a safe space, they are prone to ridiculing or making light of the situation.

The flawed reasoning of what makes a real man is the reason men resort to deviant behaviours in the hope of finding comfort. They believe that’s the only way to solve the struggles within, but we all know it isn’t.

There is an easier and safer way, talk about it! Guys, how difficult can it be? If talking to peers is impossible, perhaps seeking professional help is the next best option.

Don’t let the lump in your throat strangle you to death. It’s ok to cry. Expressing your emotions or talking about your struggles is not a weakness. It’s exactly what a real man should do.

Mourine Odongo
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