As someone who has failed more suicide attempts than I care to admit, I am (sadly) more than qualified to help you determine of your friend is thinking of killing themselves. This is easier to spot in a good friend or family member, because you’ll already be familiar with what is normal behavior for them and what is not. No matter what your friend does, please keep in mind that the final decision is always down to the individual and is not caused by what you did or didn’t do.
First off, the friend who is thinking of committing suicide will stop doing pretty much anything that he or she doesn’t really have to. They will usually claim they are very tired and want to be home alone all of their free time. They will not seem to have any interest in anything that used to hold their interests. They will also become more isolated, even if they are still able to get to work or to school. They will isolate themselves by not wanting to talk to anybody.
Another sign is how they walk, unless they have always had problems walking. Those friends considering suicide usually are preoccupied, and so either bump into things a lot, walk with their heads down more often than usual or avoid eye contact altogether. Some people considering suicide walk slower, too — and some walk a lot faster to avoid you catching up with them. They seem to be carrying an invisible burden when they think no one is looking at them — and sometimes even if someone is looking at them.
A real cry for help is that they will actually talk about death a lot more than usual. A conversation might drift along the lines of “What do you think is more painful — death by hanging or death by jumping off of a bridge?” rather than “I think I’m going to kill myself in the near future.”
The Look Of Hopelessness
Personally, I think there is a certain blank, hopeless, resigned stare off into the horizon in those who are contemplating suicide, but I have not been able to find a lot of other people to agree with me on that. However, if someone you know who has survived a suicide attempt points to your friend and whispers in your ear, “I think that one is suicidal,” please pay attention.
Don’t let anyone you suspect of being suicidal to be alone. Stay up half the night with them talking, get them to an emergency room, or suddenly offer to have a sleepover at your house. If you are talking on the phone and your friend threatens suicide, then you really have no choice but to call an ambulance.
Hope this helps.