It is common to find yourself concerned about a loved one who may have an issue that they are going through such as an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
However, talking to them about the matter may not be easy and it may call for careful planning for it to have any effect.
Here are tips that you can use to talk to a loved one about a concern;
Choose Appropriate Timing and a Comfortable Location
When broaching a sensitive concern, it is important that you do it when your loved one is calm and in a good communicative mood, when they are likely to be more receptive.
For instance, you can choose a time when they are relaxed and in good moods.
In the case of someone who is struggling with substance addiction, choose a time when they are sober and more willing to listen to your concerns.
The location you choose should also be comfortable with fewer interruptions
Don’t Use Accusatory Language
Accusatory language makes a person defensive and your loved one may feel as if they are being attacked.
In some cases, your loved one may not have acknowledged that they have a problem, and you raising the issue may make the situation worse.
Use calm and even tone while being respectful. Even if you are angry or upset, do not show it, to prevent the situation from worsening.
Therefore, instead of using ‘you’, use ‘I’. This way, you will not be putting the blame on the other person.
You will be using a non-blaming language. For instance, you could say, ‘I am worried about your heavy drinking’ instead of saying ‘you really worry me with your heavy drinking’.
This way, the focus will be on you and your loved one will not feel as if under attack.
Prepare what you intend to tell your loved one in advance. State your concerns and feelings and be specific.
For instance, you could say, I am concerned about the way you are spending money.
Use Person First Language
Person first language ensures you don’t brand a person but acknowledge the person first and then the condition later.
For instance, instead of calling someone an addict, you should refer to them as a person with a drug use disorder.
What is Person First Language? It is a language that recognizes someone as a person first before using any other words.
When talking to a loved one about a concern, use person first language so that they don’t feel as if you are branding them.
Don’t call him or her an alcoholic. Instead, refer to him or her as a person who is recovering from alcohol abuse.
This helps to eliminate stereotyping and making a problem seem permanent while maintaining respect, hope, and dignity.
Recognizing your loved one based on their condition or disorder can lead to low self-esteem, embarrassment and it is deemed disrespectful.
If your loved one remains defensive and angry even after you remain calm, respectful and use non-accusatory language, don’t panic.
It is normal for some people to require more time and be comfortable talking about certain issues and they may not be ready to admit there is a problem.
Remember that your efforts may not have been in vain.
Your love, compassion, and non-judgmental attitude may bear fruits in the future when your loved one approaches you when they are ready to talk.
You could also try bringing the subject up after some time.