Whether you’re going to visit your loved one in prison or you’re writing a letter, it can sometimes feel daunting when you consider what to talk about. If you’ve avoided doing one or the other, a lack of ideas is likely the very reason.
When you consider everything your loved one is going through, it can feel petty to complain about your own difficulties. And, talking about highlights in your life can feel like bragging. But when you avoid talking about the things going on in your life, it can make things worse.
The thing is, your loved one wants to know what’s going on with you. They want to feel like they’re still involved in life outside of the prison walls. They want to hear about your life. They want to know if you got a raise at work or if a member of the family got engaged. Just because they’re in prison, doesn’t mean they want to be completely shut out.
It’s true, they are dealing with their own troubles and there may be times (many times) they spend wishing that they weren’t there. There may even be times when they wish they were the ones celebrating a promotion at work or getting married. But, that’s only normal. People do that inside and outside of the prison walls. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to hear about what our loved ones are going through or that overall, we’re not happy for them and want to see them succeed. These thoughts are usually passing and we are quickly reminded of how happy we are for those we care about.
When it comes to talking with your loved one in prison, tell them about what’s going on in your life. You may not want to do too much complaining, but instead, fill them in on just the regular daily life happenings. Let them know when a loved one is expecting or how the kids are doing in school, for example. Share with them some of the amusing stories from your daily life. Bring a little happiness. That’s not to say you can’t discuss any of your troubles, you can (and your loved one will probably want to know what’s going on with you — good or bad). It just may not be what you want to dwell on.
You can discuss what’s currently going on in the world (but it’s probably best to avoid controversial topics if it will cause difficulty between the two of you). You may want to talk with them about a really good book you read recently (in fact, if you think they’d like it, send them a copy from a reputable source, but check the prison rules first).
As you can see, there are plenty of topics you can discuss with your loved one. Try not to let the prison bars stop you from conversing like normal. It’s still your loved one and they still want to hear about your day.
[Monalisa Johnson is a licensed and ordained minister of the gospel and a certified life coach as well as a mother and entrepreneur. In no way is anything that she writes, speaks or shares considered medical advice or clinical therapy. Consider all that you receive to be life coaching and guidance.]