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Starting Conversation

What might you see?

  • Unable to start, or slow to start, conversations
  • Long pauses
  • Problems explaining what he or she means
  • Not responding to another’s questions or comments in a timely manner

How can you help?

  • Help start a conversation by asking a leading question such as, "What do you think about this?"
  • Encourage the service member or veteran to talk about familiar topics or topics of interest.
  • Ask open-ended questions (for example, questions that cannot be answered with a "yes" or "no") such as, "Tell me more about your day."
  • Give your full attention when your family member is talking.
  • Give the service member or veteran time to organize their thoughts.
  • Use redirection, if necessary (for example, "So what do you think about that?").
  • Reinforce all efforts to start a conversation. Show that you value what they have to contribute to conversations.