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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

what to say...

So, you may have that friend that is stuck in a really hard place, and things are just not going well.

Of course, you want to encourage her that it will be okay. That it has to get better at some point. That in the future, she will look back on this time with fondness. Maybe, you try to encourage her by comparing her situation with one that is worse: "Well, at least you're not experiencing this..." Or, you want to try to be 100%  practical, to kind of get her out of her funk: "The logical thing to do is..." Or, you try to suggest all kinds of things maybe she should/could be doing...

You get the point.

Can I tell you something? Sometimes all that is good.

And, sometimes, all she wants to hear is: "Ugh. That stinks so bad. I can't imagine being in your situation. You are doing an amazing job in the meantime. It has to be so hard."

Because, sometimes that friend is weary of smiling at all the platitudes. Maybe she's thinking, "You don't know that it will get better." Or, maybe comparing her situation to one that is "worse" feels really hurtful, as if you are dismissing the very real struggle she is facing.

So, sometimes. Don't give a pep talk. Don't say that cheerful, trite thing. Just empathize, just feel what she is feeling, and let her know you see her in the midst of that hard time... and let her know you are there. Even if it's just to listen to her, cry with her, pray for her. Because, often, nothing will strengthen her more.

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