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Sometimes life can be trying. Our own personal circumstances or the plight of those closest to us can seem overwhelming, almost insurmountable. You would do anything to help friends and family retrieve their happiness, but the route back is obscure.

Finding the right words is never easy. Approaching a sensitive subject is difficult for everyone, even for the most outgoing among us. These are the conversations we might rather do without, but they are the conversations which can carry the most significance.

By grappling with subjects as painful as a family breakdown, end of life choices, or how best to escape domestic abuse, we acknowledge the problems, and bring them into the light.

Most of the time, our conversations are preoccupied with the banalities of day to day life. Sadly, matters intervene that are less carefree. In these moments, there is nothing more imperative than a sympathetic ear. Being a shoulder to cry on during the most difficult moments can be the most valuable role any of us provide to those we love the most.