Care Capsule
In an attempt to “lighten someone else's load”,
many people instead make light of the situation.

Words Make A Difference

——— Craig Bourne


We somehow feel that if we can remind another person of how to look at an issue positively, or that if we can help them get their mind off it for a short time, we will have been helpful. So we change the subject, make a joke of the situation, or provide a pat answer or cliché. But by doing this, we fail to acknowledge the feelings of the hurting person.

You have undoubtedly heard many of the remarks in the left column below, or perhaps you have said them yourself, but they are commonly made. Though probably offered with the best of intentions, they are not the best way to “walk with people” in their pain. In the right column, read a much better response that can be offered by a caring person.

Easy Answers
Caring Responses
On the death of a child: “God must have wanted her in heaven.” or “At least you have other children.”

“I'm so sorry for your loss.
You must really miss her.”
To a man who has just lost his job: “So you're retired now, huh? Man, what a deal!”

“That's terrible.
I know you really liked working for that company.”
To a woman who has just divorced: “You're lucky to finally be rid of that bum.”

“You're facing a lot of new challenges.
This must be a difficult time for you.”
To someone who has crashed their car: “Well, that's one way to get a new car!”

“Wow! That must have been frightening.
Are you OK?”
To a man who has lost his spouse: “She's in a better place now. At least she's out of pain."

“I'm sorry that she's gone.
We are all missing her.”

After the sudden death of someone in an accident: “Don't worry. You'll get through it.”

(You don't need to worry about saying much at all. Just being there with them will be comforting.)
A man is worried about the challenge of high blood pressure. He says, “I hope I don't die of an aneurysm.”: “Gosh, I hope not. I know a man who had an aneurysm . . .” and proceed to tell the story of another man who died from it. (This attempt to “identify” with the man's problem leads to an unhappy ending. Don’t tell your own story—listen to his. See “Check Your Story At The Door” in Care Capsule, Issue #2.)

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