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.