Visiting Your Diner
As you start to visit your diner, you might want to spend a few minutes planning your visits which may make it easier to keep the conversation flowing and build the relationship between you. Apologies if this comes naturally to you but some volunteers may not have all the wealth of experience so we wanted to give you some ideas to get off the ground.
Please remember, you may be one of the only person that your diner sees in a long while which means that they may not be full of chat initially. Remember to ask about them, they may be interested i you and your life but take the lead from what they talk to you about.
Ideas to break the ice and get you started:
– Play games e.g. cards, scrabble
– Bring crosswords
– Adult colouring
– Bring a little gardening with you? Perhaps pot up a couple of seeds
– Read the paper and discuss something current e.g. Queen’s 90th, Chelsea flower show
– A lot of folks don’t get out and about at all – the TV or radio is their only ‘company’ so if you are at a loss for a topic to discuss, ask them what their favourite programmes are and if these aren’t familiar to you then perhaps do a bit of research before your next visit so you know the key characters or current plot lines to get the conversation started
– People generally like to talk about where they live or grew up so ask them about this. Ask them how the town or city has changed or what they liked or disliked about it
– Be observant, ask them to tell you about the people in any photos they have on display but again please be sensitive and gauge from their response if they want to talk about this or not
– Food is always a good topic whether favourites or food memories
Please listen to your diner, really listen….. make them feel important and be considerate if there are things they do not want to talk about, look for the cues! Personal finance is always an off limit discussion.
It may be helpful when you leave to jot down a few brief notes – that way when you go back in a fortnight’s time, you will remember to ask them ‘so how was your daughter’s birthday?’ or whatever. This will ensure you have something to talk about next time , and they’ll be touched that you remembered to ask.