How To Ask Someone If They Are Okay

We have created a world where everyone is obliged constantly to put their best smiles up. We live in a time where people are taught to push through their daily routines no matter how overwhelmed they feel. We see people proclaiming their healthy and happening lives on social media all the time. There is this intense pressure to show that everything is alright and perfect.

That is why it is important to ask people if they are okay. It is essential to check on your friends and neighbors once in every while. 

“How are you?”

Sometimes all it might take is this one simple question to potentially save someone’s life. Asking someone who you feel is acting out a bit lately if they are doing okay might be a conversation that your loved one might be yearning to have. Maybe they are too nervous about bringing it up themselves and waiting for you to notice.

That is why it is absolutely important to ask people if they are okay. However, do you really know how to work around these emotional conversations? Do you know how to ask someone if they are okay?

Let’s suppose you sense something’s up with a person you know or maybe even a friend. How would you check on them? How do you ask someone if they are okay? How will you determine the correct timing to ask them these questions?  

Well, we understand these conversations might be a bit tricky. But given how important they are, you must start them right. 

Don’t worry. We are here for your rescue, pal. We have some valuable tips for when you are wondering how to ask someone if they are okay or not.

how to ask someone if they are okay
How to Ask Someone if They are Okay

1. Look For Signs Of Distress In People

Sometimes, it’s not that difficult to spot someone going through a rough patch. People around you might have gone through some relationship issues, health problems, or workplace-related stress. And if you look closely, it might become apparent that they are going through a difficult time. If anything seems unusual, try to check in with them.

For example, if they are not keeping in with social connections, are feeling down at times, or talk less than they usually did, maybe it’s time you and they had a heart-to-heart conversation.

2. Choose The Correct Place And Time It Right

Every kind of conversation has a particular time. You can either meet them personally or virtually. 

Try to choose a time when they are free and can talk without distractions. If you are meeting in a public place, ensure it is not crowded and comfortable enough to encourage your friend to open up.

3. Check-In With Yourself First

It takes a lot to support others, and it might get incredibly disturbing on some days. Asking someone if they are okay requires a healthy mindset and time.

So it’s essential to ensure you’re in a healthy headspace to be present and engage with someone struggling. After all, when you ask someone to be vulnerable, you have to devote 100% attention to that conversation.

4. Start The Conversation By Saying Why You Are Concerned

In the course of the conversation, be direct and tell them that you’ve been noticing some unusual changes in them. If you are confused about how to ask someone if they are okay, here are some lines that might come in handy:

“I’ve been noticing that you’re less involved in social outings nowadays, and hence I wanted to ask you if you are okay?” 

“You’ve been staying quiet for a few days now. Is there anything you want to talk about?”

Asking someone if they are okay and indicating that you’ve noticed the unusual changes in them will allow them to talk about the matter with you. Seeing that you care might help them give a chance to address the issue that’s bothering them.

5. Ask Twice

Admitting you are not okay and explaining things related to it is very tough. Hence, it is indeed understandable that it may be difficult for people to openly state their reasons for not being okay. 

If you suspect a person is struggling, ask them how they are doing. Naturally, they might say, “I’m okay.”

Asking twice can make all the difference in the conversation. Asking something simple like “are you sure you are okay?” indicates that you are really concerned for them and ready to lend a listening ear for their help.

6. Offer Complete Confidentiality

If you have a relationship where you two understand and trust each other, you should offer them that you will keep full secrecy. Saying it helps them to feel more confident and secure. It can help them gain courage and be open to you.

But if there is a reason for embarrassment and shame and the person is uncomfortable addressing the issue, then respect their opinion. Sometimes people struggle to put their thoughts and issues into words. Just reiterate that you respect their opinion and are really concerned for them. 

7. Listen Carefully

If you ask a person to share their sorrows with you, it becomes essential for you to listen to them carefully. We all know what it takes to pour out our feelings in front of someone and tell them our worries and fears. So make sure you listen to what they are saying and don’t cut them in between. Just being there to listen to their worries will be helpful.

8. Don’t Be Distracted By What To Say Next:

When someone is sharing a painful situation, it can be evident for you to think, “what am I going to reply to them” or “what reaction am I supposed to give.” It is understandable but focusing on the reply will distract your mind, and you won’t be able to listen to them properly.

If you are sitting and thinking about giving the necessary reactions, it will directly depict that you are not ready to hear them out and are already preoccupied.

So, agree with them from time to time, saying that their situation is painful and you feel sorry for them. Try to show that you understand them.

9. Share Your Story As Well

Sharing a few of your struggles can help the person open up more confidently. If you have suffered the same problem, then tell them and give assurance that their rough time will pass too.

For example, mental health is a subject that touches all of our lives. Hence, if you’ve faced similar problems, share your experience with them. If you’ve gone to therapy, you could explain to them how it has helped transform you. The more they understand what therapy is about, the more likely they are to embrace it with an open heart and an open mind.

10. Show care in your words.

Speaking to someone struggling and going through mental distress needs careful consideration. Don’t say anything in a hurry. Try to understand the situation the person is going through and then speak. Do not just speak for the sake of talking but show that you care for them and feel bad for them. 

11. Ask how you can help them.

We all know about the phrase “action speaks more than words.” Sometimes it’s less what you speak but what you do that matters more. If your friend is in a dark phase and you can do something about it, try doing it.

Offering your help not only eases their issue but can also help you maintain a good relationship with them. Some situations might not be in your control, but you can still find a therapist or some professional to help them overcome their issue.

12. Don’t plan out to solve their problem.

Don’t expect that you can resolve complex problems quickly on your own. Offer help to them and do it only if they approve. Interfering in their lives and trying to solve their problems might lead to unnecessary inconvenience and trust issues.

If you realize it’s a significant issue, guide them to seek professional help. If the person is suffering from depression, anxiety, or stress, be aware of different methods by which they can prevent their mental illness. 

13. Plan a date to follow up

Coming up with a follow-up plan like a regular call or a video call not only sends the person a message to look forward to but also shows how genuinely concerned you are about them.

The idea that you checked in on them will remind them that they are seen and loved. 


According to the World Health Organization, one in four people might experience some sort of mental health issue yearly. That means someone you know or love might be going through difficult times right now. Therefore just taking out a few minutes from your day to actually look and listen might be enough to see if the people around you are doing well inside or not. Look at the friend who has been missing from your social media feeds lately or the coworker who doesn’t have lunch because apparently, she is too busy. Maybe if you would really look and care, there might be something you can do. 

Hopefully, by now, you might have an idea about how to ask someone if they are okay. 

But what’s the next step? How do you help them if they aren’t? What should be your first few steps? To learn about how to help someone you know and provide mental health first aid, click here.

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