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How to Start a Conversation to Share a Problem

When we give advice here at Meic, we will often suggest talking to an adult that you trust. But maybe you’re not sure how to start talking to them. We have some tips for you about how to start that conversation.

This article is also available in Welsh. I ddarllen y cynnwys yma yn Gymraeg – clicia yma

What is a trusted adult?

There are many people in your life that you might think of as a trusted adult. It is someone you feel comfortable with, you can talk to, and that you think would help you if you needed it. It could be a parent, an aunt or uncle, a grandparent, a teacher, a youth worker, a social worker or a friends parent. 

Don’t worry about making a nuisance of yourself. Most people will be happy that you’ve reached out for help. In the unlikely event that the person you first spoke to doesn’t seem very interested in helping you, don’t give up – think of someone else and try again.

Line drawing boy sat down head in hand - for how to start a conversation blog

When should I start a conversation?

Choose a quiet, calm moment and ask if you could get their advice on something. What is the worst that can happen?

If you can’t find a quiet time, ask if you could speak to them about something important when they have time. Don’t be afraid to give them a nudge if they seem to have forgotten your request.

How do I bring it up?

Send a message to them on a platform you both use to communicate.

Leave a note. Sometimes you might need an answer, but you don’t want the person you ask to know the question has come from you. You could leave an anonymous note asking a teacher to give your class advice on a topic you are unsure about.

Drop a question in casually when you are with people you feel will be able to give you a reliable answer. 

Line drawing boy with hands up confused - for how to start a conversation blog

How do I start a conversation?

You could try some of these phrases to get the conversation started:

  • I don’t understand…, please could you explain it to me?
  • What would you do if…?
  • Please can we have a chat about…?
  • I see you are busy right now, but can we talk about something when you have 5 minutes, please?
  • I need some advice on…..
  • Have you ever wondered about…?

What if I can’t find anyone to talk to?

If you feel that you can’t talk to anybody, then the Meic helpline is here for you every single day. You might find it easier to talk to someone you don’t know. We won’t know who you are or where you live. We’re here to listen and offer free and confidential information, advice and advocacy between 8am and midnight every day. So if you have a problem, you can always lean on us for support. Call, text or chat with us online.

Girl wearing headscarf on laptop - for how to start a conversation blog

What happens when I talk to Meic?

The people that work on the Meic helpline are called helpline adviser advocates. It’s a fancy name, but it basically means that they are trained to help you, and they really are lovely too. When you contact Meic, they will talk through your issue with you, offer you advice and find a way of helping. Whatever your problem, the adviser will want to find out what you’re hoping to get from contacting the helpline and if there’s something you want to stop, start or change in your life. They will help you find your options and come up with a plan to make changes. They will find out who the best people/services are to help you.

Meic can even help you with contacting these people/services. They can contact them on your behalf if you don’t feel able to, and they can also set up a three-way call if you want. This means that they will call the service while you’re still on the phone and help you explain your issue to them so that you don’t feel that you have to repeat things all the time to different people (all of these things are called being an ‘advocate’ for you).

We hope this advice has been helpful and that you will be able to talk to someone about your problems whenever you need to.