What is the objective of the exercise?
This exercise is about understanding that people will not always say what they mean and that people will also find it hard to ask for help or say what’s upsetting them. The objective is to begin to understand these facts and to understand ways to offer peer support in these situations.
What is the method to be used?
Create a number of examples – see exercises below – and ask participants to try to work out what the real situation for the person might be. This can be reinforced whenever a situation such as this comes up in other exercises and discussions.
Sometimes people don’t mean what they are saying or don’t or can’t say what they really mean! Listen carefully to the following and tell us what you think might really be upsetting the person talking.
I don’t want to go to work today. I hate work. John was really rude to me yesterday but that’s not what upset me. I just hate work.
It’s not because she was shouting at me that upset me. I can cope with that. It doesn’t bother me. I don’t care if folk shout at me. I couldn’t care less.
I don’t want your help. I don’t want anybodys’ help. I don’t need help. Anyway, what could you do to help me?
He keeps asking me if I need help. All the time. I don’t really mind, not really, I know he’s just trying to help. I don’t really mind. Not really.
I don’t care if no-one talks to me. They all talk rubbish anyway. I don’t want to talk to anybody anyway, especially not her. Who cares?
What are the materials needed?
Various ways to do this – either via power point, flipchart initially or just discussion if practical. Then verbally after that to get used to hearing and recognising this when it occurs.. Then highlighting similar situations/other examples in real life during ensuing discussion or other exercises.
Tips for the trainers/additional information
Another exercise which should be adapted to fit the needs of the participants and how quickly they pick up on this.
Timeframe: Initially 20-30 minutes depending on number of examples but it would be helpful to repeat this during other exercises and discussions.