TALK…to the person in private when both of you have the time and are not rushed or preoccupied. Give the person your undivided attention. It is possible that just a few minutes of effective listening on your part may be enough to help the person feel cared about as an individual and more confident about what to do.
LISTEN…to thoughts and feelings in a sensitive, nonthreatening way. If you have initiated the contact, express your concern in behavioral, nonjudgmental terms. For example, “I’ve noticed you’ve been absent from class lately and I’m concerned,” rather than “Where have you been lately? You could be more concerned about your grades.”
COMMUNICATE…understanding by repeating back the essence of what the person has told you. Try to included both content and feelings (“It sounds like you’re not accustomed to such a big campus and you’re feeling left out of things.”). Let the person talk.
GIVE HOPE…Assure the person that things can get better. It is important to help them realize there are options and that things will not always seem hopeless. Suggest resources: friends, family, clergy or professionals on campus.
MAINTAIN…clear and consistent boundaries and expectations. It is important to maintain a clear perspective about your relationship and responsibilities to the person as well as to yourself. Do not “take over” for the person unless it is clear that s/he is in danger or cannot get help for her/himself. Also, do set limits about how much time and contact you can personally provide in helping the person.
REFER...to other resources when:
Even though you are genuinely concerned about people, you do not have to solve the problem for the person. Remember, you are helping by listening to the person and connecting them to the agency or person who can assist further.