In this video, Caroline and I talk about the natural human tendency to fall into a “sad voice” when talking to somebody about their depression. People with depression who we’ve talked to would much prefer that you not do that, and instead talk to them in your normal voice.

This is confirmed by a survey of people in the workforce living with depression/anxiety. Of course, every situation is unique, and there may be times when a “sad voice” is the perfect thing. In general though, people with depression find it off-putting.

This is good news because talking in your natural voice is so much easier. A transcript is included below.

Caroline: Let’s rebrand depression and anxiety.

Bill: Have you ever been talking to somebody, Caroline, about your depression, and had them suddenly slip
into like a sad voice?

Caroline: You mean like this, “oh no, are you depressed?”

Bill: Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. And does that make you wanna talk to them more about your depression?

Caroline: No, not at all, actually.

Bill: Yeah, same here. And in a recent survey, we did of over a hundred people in the workforce, living with depression or anxiety, we found that none of them want to be talked to about it in a sad voice. Some people would prefer that you’re a little bit concerned or a little bit upbeat. Nobody wants the full on sad voice, which is counter-intuitive, because we’re taught that it’s kind of polite to get sad in those situations. But in reality, it can be kind of rude.

Caroline: Right, like can you imagine if your foot was in a cast and somebody started limping
while talking to you? Rude.

Bill: Right. Or what if you had laryngitis and they started whispering to you? Rude.

Caroline: What if you spoke with an accent and they mimicked your accent? Super rude.

Bill: So what do you use instead? Your normal voice.

Caroline: And it’s a lot less pressure too, because you don’t have to figure out which voice to use. Just to be talking like you.

Bill: Just talk to them the same way you talk to everybody else at your workplace. And so we wanna know, what do you think, what kind of voice makes you feel genuinely understood and engaged?

Caroline: Let us know in the comments.