Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How Not to Say the Wrong Thing

Everyone who has gone through a difficult time has experienced that awkward moment when someone says the wrong thing.  In fact, now that I have been through something hard (and still am), I wonder to myself how many times I have been that person saying the wrong thing.

I have tried to figure out something that I could post about to help others know what to say.  Honestly, it is very difficult to have generic rules that work in every situation. Some people want to talk...others don't.  What would be the right thing to say to one person could very well be the wrong thing for another person.

However, one of my friends and fellow angel mom shared this article from the LA Times and I thought this was a perfect place to start.  It is a great mindset to have when someone you know is going through a difficult time. I hope you enjoy this article and that it helps you as much as it helped me.



Do you have any other suggestions on how to not say the wrong thing?  What have been your experiences with this, either being the person trying to help or the person needing words of encouragement?

2 comments:

  1. In nursing school, we were told a lot of the things mentioned in the article -- it's a wonderful article, by the way! Some other things that we were told to consider, though, were:

    1. Silence is always an option. Sitting in silence to listen to the concerns of others is sometimes all that a grieving soul needs.

    2. Always be empathetic, but never sympathetic. I didn't always understand what this meant, but, for me, it forced the idea of imagining how it must feel to be in the other person's shoes. Empathetic phrases include, "This must be so difficult for you." Ultimately, it was about respectful communication; refraining from "feeling sorry" for someone to, instead, empower him/her.

    3. Reflect what others have to say. If someone expresses anger, it's okay to say, "It sounds like this makes you upset."

    4. Never give personal opinions/advice as a response. If asked what YOU would do, redirect the question by stating, "What I think really isn't that important," with an emphasis on the fact that all situations require a different approach. This also makes it possible for people to begin to believe that they have the power to make good decisions for themselves.

    The focus for us, anyway, was therapeutic communication, which involved using the total being to connect with another individual; to make that person feel as though his or her concerns are valid and important.

    Thanks for posting this, Stephanie, and I hope you know how much I've been thinking about you and praying for your family. I don't believe I ever had an opportunity to tell you how sorry I am for your loss. You're so strong, and I have nothing but admiration for you and your lovely family. I never met Joshua, but he has a special place in my heart, as do you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is an awesome circle idea! I like that you can let your feelings out to those in bigger circles, and that you comfort those in smaller. That is genius! This isn't just for major crises--it would probably work for everyday crises, too! Love the article!

    ReplyDelete


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Joshua Kent Ipson was born December 1, 2012 with a very complicated combination of congenital heart defects. After 2 1/2 months of fighting for his life, he passed away on February 13, 2013. We invite you to share our experiences as we grieve his loss, rejoice in God's plan, & keep Joshua's message of hope alive.
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