Just Don’t Say It! #AtoZChallenge

J is for Just Don’t Say It! Think before you speak!

There are times in our lives when we may hear distressing news from or about someone who we care about. At those times our natural reaction is to say something comforting to the person sharing this information with us. However, in an attempt to be caring and supportive, people may unintentionally say things that wind up being totally inappropriate for the given situation.

It isn’t that they don’t care. Conversely the opposite is often true. It is often a matter of being overwhelmed with the severity of the situation and having no clue what to say, but desiring to show support in a very difficult situation. Below we will see some of the common responses to situations, that often leave the person to whom you are speaking feeling more frustrated than comforted.

When hearing of a devastating illness, injury or diagnosis that will result in chronic health challenges don’t…

Say “Feel better soon!” – They likely will not get any better!

Say “It could be worse!” – They know it could, but to them this is as bad as it gets!

Say “I’ll let you focus on your health, and we can catch up when you feel better.” – By saying this you imply that you aren’t there for them during the difficult times

Say “Well at least you can still” <insert anything here>. – This undermines their legitimate feeling of loss.

Say “Things will get better!” – Especially when the person obviously is experiencing a permanent disability such as paralysis, or worse yet a terminal illness. (Yes I’ve seen it happen firsthand!)

Of course, these are only a few simple examples that come to mind to try to emphasize the importance of thinking before you speak. When in doubt as to what to say to someone about a situation, simply try being honest. Try explaining that you really don’t know what to say at the moment, but that you care and will be there for them (and in support of them). But if you make this offer to be there for them, you must be able and willing to follow through on your statement.

I could write tens of thousands of words on this subject, but for the interests of keeping this post relatively short for the #AtoZChallenge, I have chosen short, simple examples that will hopefully be relatable for the greatest number of people.

What are some of the sayings you’ve heard that have affected you? Please share with us in the comments below.

10 Replies to “Just Don’t Say It! #AtoZChallenge”

    1. I wholeheartedly agree with you on that topic! I must admit for the purpose of brevity, I skipped that one as I knew I could write a book-length post just on the things people have told me to try. I don’t discount that natural remedies help some conditions and may hold benefits for some people and conditions. However, I firmly believe that there is no guaranteed single cure for everyone with a given illness. Human beings are individual and their bodies react differently to the same stimuli, which makes a blanket approach to anything nearly impossible.

  1. I can see this from both sides. If I said any of those things I would cringe about it later when I thought about it, but if anyone said those things to me, I guess I would just be grateful that they cared. Sometime its not really about the actual words but its about the fact they care enough to try to offer comfort.

    1. There are absolutely two sides to this, as there are with most topics. I’ve heard the comments said to me and those I care about, and have at times struggled to know what to say. You are right that sometimes just being there is more than enough. However, in the world of electronic communication that we now live in, whether text, email, or social media, it is imposssible to convey comfort of being there without words.

  2. Speak only if you can better the silence…isn’t it? I feel sometimes, just keeping mum helps. Sometimes the person just needs a firm hand hold, may be.
    I remember the day when I lost my father and some one said…”dont worry, everything will be all right”… and believe me I felt all the more pain than before.
    Appreciate your advise on this topic… wish people understand the gravity of situation and then react!
    Anagha From Team MocktailMommies
    Collage Of Life

    1. I may have to use the phrase “speak only if you can better the silence” as it sounds less cliche to me than “think before you speak” which I heard constantly growing up and admittedly said to my two daughters probably more than I shsould have. Considering how your words will affect others is important, as the person you are speaking to may not be able to tell the sentiment behind those words. While I’m sure the person who said that to you meant no harm, the fact remains that it makes you stop and realize that things will never be the same. Having lost both my parents and having heard those exact words, I can relate to your story. Thanks for sharing it.

    1. Thank you! In an effort for total transparency, I must admit that I used to offer some statements in support, that I didn’t understand could cause a negative reaction before I became chronically ill myself. I highly doubt anyone says things out of malice. Quite the contrary, we say things because we care. Sadly we may not know what to say to appropriately show our support. My hope is that this makes people think momentarily about how their words could be interpreted.

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