Need to talk?

Talking about a problem can often make you feel better. If you keep your worries secret they can grow and grow inside.

It’s a lot easier to solve a problem when there are two heads working together on it. But, it’s not always easy to know how to start the conversation.

Often we don’t talk to friends or our parents about things we’d really like to talk to them about because we feel embarrassed, shy or ashamed.

The thing to remember is that whatever it is you’re embarrassed about, a good friend isn’t going to laugh at you, judge you or put you down. They’ll listen, try to understand and try to help you feel better or find a solution. And that’s why people find that talking to a good friend about a problem usually does help.

Need to talk about a problem?

  • Find a good person to talk to.

    Someone who you know to be caring, trustworthy, or thoughtful. The best person doesn’t have to be your closest friend – sometimes if friends are too caught up in the problem they might not be able to provide the understanding you need.

  • Find a time and a way to talk in private.

    Tell them you want to talk about something so they know to give the conversation some time and space.

  • Start the conversation.

    Sometimes we don't talk about a problem because we're worried about how people are going  to respond. If you’re worried about what your friend or an adult might say you can ask them ‘What would you think if...?’ and get them to imagine a similar situation happening to someone else. You’ll get a sense from how they respond whether they’re the right person to talk to.

  • Keeping secrets.

    You’ll want to know what they will do with what you tell them. Often it’s tempting to get friends to swear they won’t tell a soul but it might be more realistic and better for you if you agree that there are certain people they can tell if they’re worried about you – people who can help you. To begin with you might want to talk about groups of friends that you don’t want to know about this.

  • How they respond.

    Sometimes people don’t know how to respond to big and difficult things they are told. Some people might try to offer solutions really quickly, others might just listen. Don’t be afraid to tell your friend what you would like from the conversation for example, ‘I just need some space to talk this through’

  • Speak to ChildLine.

    If you’re nervous about speaking to a friend or an adult you trust or a conversation hasn’t helped, you can always speak to someone at ChildLine. You can contact ChildLine about anything. No problem is too big or too small. Whatever your worry, it's better out than in. They are available 24 hours a day and can talk to you in private. The number won’t appear on your phone bill. You can call them for free on 0800 1111 or visit their website

Talk to someone


ChildLine is a free helpline for children and young people. You can contact ChildLine about anything. No problem is too big or too small. Whatever your worry, it's better out than in.

ChildLine is a private and confidential service. Confidential means not telling anyone else what you’ve said. This means that whatever you say stays between you and ChildLine.

They would only need to tell someone else if:

  • You ask them to
  • They believe your life or someone else’s life is in immediate danger
  • You are being hurt by someone in a position of trust who has access to other children like a teacher or police officer
  • You tell them that you are seriously harming another young person

Call them on 0800 1111. The number won’t appear on your phone bill.

You can also visit to speak to a counsellor online.