How To Talk To Your Smoker Friend

By : James Yougler - Published On: March 11, 2017

mother holding her daughter

If you're a non smoker, talking to a friend who smokes is a sensitive issue. How do you approach your friend on this matter? How do you make sure that he or she understands your concerns, without getting upset?   Most people dislike being told what to do. And most smokers hate it when people tell them that they should quit their habit, although they realize that it is extremely unhealthy. If you too are worried about the risks that your smoker friend is exposed to, you should read a few tips on how to talk to him or her about this problem. They might get defensive at first, and even fight you on this matter, but if you really care about them, you shouldn't let this go unnoticed.   This type of defensiveness is simply a mechanism through which they try to protect themselves. Sometimes, people don't even realize that they appear to be aggressive, as it is mostly an instinct of self-defense. This happens because the smoker is already aware of the fact that smoking is unhealthy, and they might even feel a bit guilty about it.

photo of a woman smoking cigarette

Nowadays, the fact that smoking is harmful has been widely advertised and the habit itself has become stigmatized. This makes it hard for smokers to give arguments about why they keep on doing it. As a friend, you shouldn't force anyone to do something they don't want to do. The first thing that you can do is to establish some boundaries with your friend, for example telling your friend not to smoke when at your house or around your children, but make sure that you don't say this in a hurtful way. Also, rephrase what you want to say to your friend by putting him or her in the opposite situation, and the way he or she would act if a loved one would do something that hurts themselves.  

Don't get intimidated when you have to talk to a loved one. Make sure that you say what you want to say clearly, but don't be judgmental. Don't just point out the things that they do wrong, but offer solutions instead. If they get defensive, don't apologize for being thoughtful and sincere. Keep your stand, but try to say it a different way, so that it sounds less harsh. Let your loved one know that you understand the problem and that you will help them overcome it. Do not give up, even if it gets harder and harder. Give strong arguments and explain every point that you make. The problem might be that your loved one does not have the courage or self-confidence to quit smoking. If you know you friend well, you should definitely find a way to be persuasive enough to make them listen to you and realize the problem.