For When You’ve Never Walked a Mile In Their Shoes

posted by Andrea | 04/2/2014

boots

Over the last couple of years dealing with Nora’s sleeping, eating, and sensory issues, we’ve gotten LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of advice, suggestions, ideas, tips, and even some criticism from many different people (even if we didn’t ask for it).

I totally understand — it’s human nature to want to fix problems for other people, but Dave and I have literally gotten to the point where we won’t even bring anything up unless it’s absolutely necessary or unless we’re with close friends and family.

We’ve also gotten REALLY good at just smiling and nodding :)

However, recently I received an email from a reader saying that she would like more guidance as to how to respond when a friend or family member comes to her with an issue or problem.

She asked:

What can women like me do to help? How can we, on the outside, encourage and lift up others? What, in the thick of it, did you need most from a friend?

Honestly, I had never thought about that before — but since ALL of us have various issues and problems we struggle with at different times in our lives, I figured this might a really good blog post topic.

I’ve thought about these questions, and I’ve outlined 7 ways NOT to respond when someone shares a concern or problem with you — as well as a few much more helpful responses.

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But before I even get started, I just want to point out that I have personally said and done EVERY SINGLE ONE of the things I say “not to say or do”. I’ve said and done them more than once and I guarantee I’ll say and do them again — not because I’m trying to be rude but because the responses below are very natural reactions when other’s share their troubles, problems, and insecurities with us.

Don’t feel bad if you’ve said and done all of the things I mention below — but do try to think about them in the future. Practice makes progress, and I can already tell I’ve gotten better at how I respond to others — especially when I know I’ve never walked a mile in their shoes.

when you've never walked a mile in their shoes

source

1. Don’t try to “one-up them”.

There is nothing more frustrating than sharing a real concern with someone only to have them basically belittle your concern with a “bigger” or “better” concern of their own — or worse, a story from their past that they are remembering with “rose colored glasses”.

For example: 

Concerned Friend: “I never feel like I have enough time or energy to give to things — I’m not giving 100% to my family, my church, my job, my marriage, etc.”
Bad Response: “You think you’re busy with 1 kid and a part-time job, trying having 4 kids and working full time. I don’t even see my spouse.”
Better Response: “Wow, you have a lot on your plate! It sounds like you’re doing a great job though, don’t be too hard on yourself!”

Concerned Friend: “I’m so lonely, I  wonder if I’ll ever find the right person to marry.”
Bad Response: “Believe me, marriage isn’t all that great — my life is so stressful and busy with kids, a spouse, etc. I wish I could go back to my single days .”
Better Response: “I know this must be hard for you, but you’re such a great person. I’m so glad we’re friends!”

2. Don’t say “but at least”.

Yes, I realize there are many things we should be thankful for, but when I’m openly sharing my problems with you, I really don’t want you to just disregard them and change the subject by flippantly saying, “but at least”.

For example: 

Concerned Friend: “I’m really anxious and worried about a situation at work.”
Bad Response: “That stinks, but at least you have a job.”
Better Response: “I’m sure that’s very stressful for you and makes it hard to be excited about going to work each day.”

Concerned Friend: “My kids have been so difficult, I feel like I just need a break.”
Bad Response: “It does sound like they are being difficult, but at least you have a great husband.” Or “…but at least you were able to have children.”
Better Response: “I can’t even imagine how difficult it’s been for you these past few months; is there anything I can do to help?”

3. Don’t give unsolicited advice.

This is the hardest one for me and for most people because we naturally want to help… and when someone (especially a close friend or family member) comes to us with a problem, we want to fix it.

But unless the person SPECIFICALLY asks for your advice or your opinion, please don’t try to offer suggestions — it’s often very frustrating for the friend, especially if it’s an on-going issue.

For example: 

Concerned Friend: “I’ve been having such bad migraines for months, even the doctors can’t figure out the problem.”
Bad Response: “You should try ___________, it works for my headaches every time.”
Better Response: “That sounds awful, I’m sorry to hear that you haven’t found a solution yet.”

Concerned Friend: “I’m getting so frustrated trying to potty-train my child. He just doesn’t want to move out of diapers.”
Bad Response: “Have you tried _______? It’s what I did every time and it ALWAYS worked.”
Better Response: “Yeah, potty-training is the worst… you’re at the mercy of your toddlers which can be SO frustrating.”

Believe me, we’ve tried ALL those things you’re going to suggest and they DID NOT work for us — so by telling us that they work every time or they always worked for you makes us feel even worse!

4. Don’t respond with cliché phrases.

Oh the cliché phrases — there’s nothing that makes me want to punch someone in the face more than when they respond to one of my legitimate concerns with a cliché phrase like, “enjoy every moment” or, “there is a time and season for everything” or, “this too shall pass” or my favorite, “the days are long but the years are short.”

Yes, I realize that all those phrases ARE in fact true statements, and I’m totally fine joking about them in light-hearted ways, but if I’m in the thick of a hard time (especially a mentally hard time) and I honestly can’t see the end in sight yet, those phrases are really the last thing I want to hear!

For example: 

Concerned Friend: “My marriage has really been a struggle lately. I just feel like we have no time for each other and I’m not sure what to do.”
Bad Response: “You’re just in a busy season of life… this too shall pass.”
Better Response: “I’m sorry, is there anything I can do to help — like watch your kids so you can have a date night?”

Concerned Friend: “I just don’t think I can take one more day cooped up with my kids. The older two are sick and not sleeping well, and the baby had a growth spurt and is nursing every 2 hours round the clock.”
Bad Response: “The days are long but the years are short… enjoy every moment as you’ll miss these times when you’re older!”
Better Response: “Oh, I can remember those days. They were so frustrating and I thought they’d never end. Hang in there though, you’re a great mom and you can do this!”

 5. Don’t respond with “rose colored glasses”.

I feel like this response especially applies when a younger person is telling an older person about a problem or concern. It’s often easy for the older person to look back on life with rose colored glasses and forget how hard the hard times really were.

I’ve even had this issue when my younger siblings voice a concern to me — so no, you don’t need to be really old to fall into this trap :)

For example: 

Concerned Friend: “We’ve really been struggling financially lately, I just don’t know how we’re going to make ends meet this month.”
Bad Response: “I remember struggling when we were first married too — now I realize that was the best time of our life and helped us grow closer as a married couple.”
Better Response: “I know how stressful finances can be, I’ll keep your family in my prayers.”

Concerned Friend: “I’m so exhausted, I haven’t had a full night sleep in months since my baby wakes up every 3 hours.”
Bad Response: “Just wait, in a few years, you’ll look back on these times and wish you could go back.”
Better Response: “I can totally relate — sleep deprivation really sucks.”

6. Don’t respond with your own problems.

It’s one thing to be “relatable” by sharing an experience from your past or from your own life — but it’s another thing to completely change the subject and start burdening them with YOUR problems.

For example: 

Concerned Friend: “My husband just found out his job will be terminated next month. I don’t know what we’re going to do.”
Bad Response: “I know, this economy is so bad. My husband lost his job last month and he still hasn’t found anything. We’re just digging deeper into our savings account and putting more on credit cards.”
Better Response: “We’re in the same boat right now and it IS really hard. Let me know if you want to vent together.”

Concerned Friend: “My allergies have really been acting up lately — I can hardly breathe without my medication.”
Bad Response: “That reminds me, I need to bring my kids in to get a new allergy prescription. Their allergies have been so bad — I hate to see them suffer.”
Better Response: “Wow, sounds like your allergies are really bad. My kids also have allergies so I understand how frustrating this must be for you.”

7. Don’t respond by blowing them off.

Sometimes when we don’t know what to say, we try to change the subject or just blow off the issue like it’s really not a big deal — yes I’ve done it many times already!

However, this obviously doesn’t help the other person and it makes me look like a big jerk!

For example: 

Concerned Friend: “What a day, everything seemed to go wrong and I’m completely exhausted.”
Bad Response: “Oh well, tomorrow is another day.”
Better Response: “I can see/hear how tired you are. Is there anything I can do to help get your mind off of today.”

Concerned Friend: “I’m really worried about those medical tests. I haven’t slept in days because I’m so anxious to get the results back.”
Bad Response: “There’s nothing you can do about it now so there’s no sense worrying or losing sleep over the matter.”
Better Response: “I understand why you’re so anxious — it would be so hard to keep waiting.”

I could honestly go ON and ON and ON with different examples from each of these 7 ways “not to respond”… but I think you get the idea.

The point is that we ALL have issues, we ALL have struggles, we ALL have hard times, and for the most part, we ALL feel better if we can vent every once in a while — and when we vent, we just want to be heard and understood.

Obviously, there are situations when it’s not appropriate for people to vent to certain people (like a parent venting to a child about marriage issues or venting to a coworker about your boss) but in my own experience, sometimes venting (or just sharing your problems with someone else) is therapy in itself.

No, it doesn’t solve the issue or fix the problem, but it often makes me feel better, less stressed, and like I’m not totally alone (yes, this blog has been VERY therapeutic for me!)

When in doubt… say nothing.

Honestly, if you don’t know how to respond or you feel awkward because you don’t have experience with that type of a situation… just DON’T SAY ANYTHING.

DO just sit and listen.

DO give them a hug. (if it’s appropriate)

DO offer to pray for them or with them. (if you feel comfortable doing that)

DO ask them if you can help or how you can help.

Everyone’s situation and experiences are so different that it’s hard to say for sure what would be helpful for them — so that’s why you just need to ask. And when you ask, really listen to their response. Often people will say “nothing” or “we don’t need any help” but you can tell they are just crying out for someone to help them.

If you want more of an honest response, re-phrase your question and instead of saying, “How can I help?” say, “Do you want me to do ______ or  ______ or ______? What would help you the most?”

So the next time someone shares a problem or concern with you, stop and think for 3 seconds before you respond… especially if you’ve never walked a mile in their shoes! 

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42 comments

  1. Holly

    04/02/2014

    Great information! My favorite cliche has always been “God doesn’t give us any more than we can handle”…sorry but that can feel like such a load of crap when you are really walking through something difficult. With that said- I am guilty of all these things as well! It really makes you think that often times it’s not what we say but rather how we say them. I have been praying that you will continue to see improvements with Nora & for a smooth transition with the addition of your new little one.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Holly — and yes, your cliche phrase is another “good one” that is WAY overused. Potentially true, but just inappropriate for almost every difficult situation!

    [Reply]

  2. Charlene Uchtman

    04/02/2014

    The trouble with praying with someone is that we often say the same things in our prayer that was unhelpful to say to the person directly. I think prayer falls under the same guidelines as your appropriate responses. ( :

    [Reply]

    Lydia @ Five4FiveMeals Reply:

    If you feel led to pray, God will lat on your heart the words to say. Prayer never hurts.

    [Reply]

    lydia @ Five4FiveMeals Reply:

    *Lay

    [Reply]

    Sami Reply:

    In my opinion, telling someone you will pray for them is the same as blowing them off. It doesn’t acknowledge or validate their feelings whatsoever and feels like a generic blanket phrase.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I can see where you are coming from Sami — however, I’d MUCH rather have someone say, “That sounds rough, I’ll keep you in my prayers” than, “Well, there’s nothing you can do about it so you might as well not worry about it”

    [Reply]

  3. Debby

    04/02/2014

    Oh my gosh! Can I relate to this one! For a couple of years, my oldest daughter from about 15-17 gave us fits. She would get lazy with her homework, lie about the dumbest things, sneak around. Now nothing was ever illegal or horrible bad. But she was stressful to deal with and whenever I needed to vent, my mother in law had two responses:
    1) These are the best days of your life. You just don’t know it. Ummm, no I already had days way better than those so I knew those were not the best days of my life. OR
    2)Maybe you are doing something that makes her want to act out or lie. Are you kidding me??

    Now my oldest has made a 180, and it was just a maturity thing and she admits now that she doesn’t know how we didn’t wring her neck back then.

    I loved this post, and will definitely use some of those response tactics since I seem to be one that people come to at work. I feel like Lucy from Peanuts and her psychiatry booth. In the end, people don’t always want advice, they just want to be heard and cared about.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow, that sounds rough! I love it that even your daughter can look back and realize that she was giving you such a hard time — that means it was REALLY bad! Glad you made it through without punching your mother in law :)

    [Reply]

  4. Deb

    04/02/2014

    Had to laugh at the “you’re gonna miss these days” of baby hood. My kids are 21,19 and 17 and I NEVER miss getting up all night. I love them dearly, but really, sleep is awesome!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — well, glad I’m not the only one who won’t miss the tiny baby days and sleepless nights!

    [Reply]

  5. Leigh Ann

    04/02/2014

    EXCELLENT! Thank You!

    [Reply]

  6. Jennifer

    04/02/2014

    Wow, this is all so true! But I think all your examples are really good. I’ve heard (and likely said) all of the ‘bad’ things, but I know I’ve also received the really good responses from some people and it really does help.

    One overall principle I’ve found for myself is that when I’m struggling my main need is for my situation and feelings simply to be received and accepted as they are, at least at first. Sometimes with certain friends or situations it’s acceptable to move onto advice or changing my attitude. But really, you can never go wrong AT FIRST with simply acknowledging and accepting the other person’s feelings and experiences, and many times that is all that is needed or appropriate.

    So that’s what I try to remind myself of when I’m talking with others: accept and receive what they feel and the way their situation simply is, rather than trying to change it, ignore it, or suggest that they should change.

    [Reply]

  7. Jen

    04/02/2014

    Love love love this post! So true!

    [Reply]

  8. Laurel

    04/02/2014

    Guilty. I think the absolute worst is when you are relaying a significant concern to someone and they one up you like you said. I have someone who does that to me every single time. It’s awful. I don’t want sympathy or anything other than to have her listen and just acknowledge. I think I have been guilty of trying to offer up suggestions (I think even to you at times). If it can at all be explained away, I think we sincerely want to help and we think we might have JUST the thing that might be the solution.Especially if it has worked for us. I know when people offer up suggestions to me, I appreciate it much more than the “well you think that’s bad, I had this happen 20 years ago” story. Thanks for posting this well thought out post. And, I was getting the feeling that your blog was a little bit of therapy for you :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Don’t worry about it Laurel — if you gave us advice, we probably didn’t even notice because so many others were doing the same thing! And yes, we realized they were all trying to help :)

    [Reply]

  9. MrsD

    04/02/2014

    I ended a friendship over something like this. My ENTIRE pregnancy and traumatic birth…that’s all she did was try and one-up me. I just couldn’t take her anymore and didn’t even want to address the issue with her. I was just done :(

    [Reply]

  10. Avia

    04/02/2014

    Such a wise post. And yes, I’m sure I’ve done all of these! We went through years of infertility which (hopefully) taught me a lot about how to respond to others who are in a tough situation. One thing that helped me (and you alluded to it) was to try to remember that most people are coming from a good place and are trying to be helpful. That helps when nodding and smiling. :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes definitely. I realize that almost all the advice we got was given in love from people who were trying to help — but it still tends to get old after a while and after we’ve tried all their advice :) I’m guessing you can relate to that feeling too!

    [Reply]

  11. Paulette Smith

    04/02/2014

    Such a great post, Andrea. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve done them all. I also remember times when I received unsolicited advice and the irritation I felt just because I needed a listening ear. Thanks for the heads up!!

    [Reply]

  12. Catie

    04/02/2014

    This is really good. I, too, have said some (all?) of these things but I’m learning that often the best and easiest thing to say is “I’m sorry.” Of course, you have to mean it. ;)

    On the flip side, we also need to show other people grace when they answer us with one of these “wrong” answers. :) (I know you sort of mentioned that.) Sometimes, people honestly don’t know what to say so they just say the first thing that comes to their mind.

    I think you are so smart to just not say anything unless you really know the other person and know they’ll give you good advice! I could learn something from that! :)

    [Reply]

  13. Jenny

    04/02/2014

    Thank you for this wonderful post! In particular, number 6 is often a challenge. Your tips on how to be relatable without responding with your own problems are much appreciated. Thanks again for all that you do!

    P.S. I love the last photo of Nora wearing boots! She is a doll!

    [Reply]

  14. Becky

    04/02/2014

    This is so timely for me. For some reason I recently noticed others doing the negative things and then noticed it in myself as well. Especially talking about myself or my problems when someone else expresses theirs, or giving advice…especially when it comes to children that are younger than mine. I have really been working on not trying to turn things around to me, but really listening and asking more questions about them and showing that I am really interested in them. Those are some great suggestions of what to say and not to say. Thanks for the post!

    [Reply]

  15. Janice

    04/02/2014

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this. It has been very convicting to me as I have done some or maybe all of those “bad responses.” Felt awful reading them but I needed to be reminded. You are courageous to post something that will hit so many of us right in the mouth. :)

    [Reply]

  16. Kim

    04/02/2014

    You hit it out of the park. This needs to be read, studied and posted EVERYWHERE! Sometimes life has pain……………….and then people open their mouths and there is a secondary wound. Less talking, more hugging, asking what would help.

    [Reply]

  17. Tracey

    04/02/2014

    This is such a great post. We have gone thru this recently as my husband recently quit his job of 15 years to pursue real estate. I am so proud of him for taking a risk on a new career but it’s also a scary prospect to fact the uncertainty. Unfortunately some family members in their concern for our future have been giving unsolicited advice that is less than supportive. I know I have said most of the responses you are NOT supposed to say and I love that you give better alternatives. I am definitely going to work on this!

    [Reply]

  18. Debbie

    04/02/2014

    This is such a good reminder. I’ve recently been reflecting about this. I’m so thankful to have people in my life that do it the right way and giving me such a great example each time we are together. It’s the main reason I started reflecting on how I respond to others, and I definitely have done all these. However, I also have someone in my life that shares and if you respond in the proper way the sharing keeps going on and on. The next time we talk it’s almost the same problem but just involving different people. It’s like a broken record and for it stop you’ll have to say, “You’re blessed to at least have a job when there’s so many who can’t find one.” (For example). What do you do? Do I continue to fan the flame or give them tough love?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    good questions Debbie — and unfortunately, I don’t have the perfect answer for you!

    I totally know what type of people you’re referring to and it IS really hard. I think you probably need to take it on a person-by-person and case-by-case basis and then use your best judgement. Lame answer, I know — but it’s all I got :)

    [Reply]

  19. Lety

    04/03/2014

    This is a great post that makes me reflect on my own responses. I am trying to be especially mindful after having been recently diagnosed with a serious illness and having others tell my husband: “that’s nothing! she’ll be fine after surgery, there’s nothing to worry about.” Really?

    Of course I have faith I will be well soon, but I hate that they belittle what this will mean in our lives. Especially when not everyone fares well with this illness. Their responses made us feel like drama queen and king and made us not want to share with others who we wanted to let know. Fortunately we decided to go ahead and do so and we are so grateful for all the support received from almost all others.

    Empathy is always key in any type of conversation. Letting others know “I may not know exactly what you’re going through, but you have valid concerns. I’m here for you. Let me know how I can help.” Oh, and only offer help if you are being genuine. Not just to say something nice. Give the person a call once in a while. I’ve had several family members tell me to let them know if I need something, and I actually do need help, but don’t feel comfortable reaching out to them because they have not called after letting them know of my illness. I feel they must be really busy if they don’t get a chance for a call. So I’d feel like a burden if I did ask for their help.

    Thank you for this post, Andrea. It’s definitely one that will make us become more empathetic and supportive..

    [Reply]

  20. Patricia

    04/03/2014

    Well said! Done them all, and some! As a mother of 3 and 7 grandchildren, one turning 16, I’m guilty of -”when I was you age…..” You have a wise head on your young shoulders. God Bless to you and your family

    [Reply]

  21. Leanne

    04/03/2014

    I’ve said to others “I’ll pray for you”….then I don’t…
    yuk…
    If you say “l’ll pray for you”, do so…
    Its nice to send the person a card with some bible verses you are specifically praying for them…or just a reminder of how loved they are by God….
    I try to remember, if something isn’t a direct sin issue, which the bible does outline for how to confront…then its not my business to advise…
    but, it’s my business to encourage…
    this was an excellent post….thank you!!!

    [Reply]

    Jenny Reply:

    Please remember not all people are religious. I’m an atheist (which I tend not to advertise) and interpret “I’ll keep you in my prayers” as “I’ll be thinking about you” Cards with bible verse I would find harder to deal with.

    [Reply]

  22. Debbie

    04/03/2014

    This is an awesome post, Andrea! It really made me stop and think. The other day while we were in the car, my 12 year old son started telling me lots of stuff he doesn’t like about school. He doesn’t open up very often with details, so I listened very well, and encouraged him to keep talking. I never offered a suggestion or anything – just let him talk. At the end he made the comment that he felt so much better about everything! I was amazed.

    I think you are exactly right that sometimes a person just needs to be able to tell someone that something is bothering them. Sometimes there might be things we can do to help as well – and I think you are right on about asking them (and listening) for what they feel would be most helpful, or for offering specific suggestions. But for me, I always have to remind myself that the goal is to be sympathetic and helpful – not to fix the problem.

    Good job with this post! I’m sure it took some time to think of these great tips and examples!

    [Reply]

  23. Summer

    04/03/2014

    I absolutely agree with we all need to be kinder in our responses and this was a fantastic reminder! Excellent job with real advice to those who really don’t need more advice, because they will figure it out… we all do.

    I have to say though, some people in our lives LOVE to complain about everything and anything and it’s when I have to listen to the exact same complaint about something that a person doesn’t even attempt to try or change their own behavior or mindset, that I want to respond with some of these. “It WILL pass.” “Tomorrow is a fresh new opportunity to start again.” “Some days are sooooo long, but yes the years are short.” I don’t believe these are just platitudes, some people just need to change their attitudes and often that’s why I say these things… TO actually lighten a mood, change the energy, or lift up spirits!

    Not to discredit REAL problems, but in this day in age where people just LOVE to complain, or expressing their entitlement, it’s exhausting to keep your chin up and try to enjoy life… especially this WINTER IN MICHIGAN! Wait, is is spring?!

    Thanks for keeping it real and again, fantastic ideas for those of us that should continue to smile and nod, while keeping our lips sealed! :) We all need to be heard and there is a time to listen and a time to talk. Thank you Andrea for that reminder!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes yes, I totally KNOW what you mean about the constant complainers — I have a few of those in my life too. I’m not an extremely patient person so it’s extra hard for me to deal with those people — but I’m getting better :)

    [Reply]

  24. erin

    04/03/2014

    I’ve realized it’s important to discern the appropriate friend to call for the appropriate stress relief or guidance. If I’m about to make a huge life decision that could potentially be bad I know the person to call that will shake me into correct thinking and I know I’ll heed her advice and save myself from myself. Then there are times when I just want someone who will be ready and willing to drown sorrows in a fatty meal or big bowl of ice cream or late night of stupid girl talk -completely different person to call. Another friend is my go to when I just need to pop the top of what’s been bottled up to a listening ear, be told I’m not crazy, and then I can pick up and move on. Maturity in figuring that out and directing myself to the appropriate person when I’m at my end has made all the difference in the world – and everyone else doesnt know the wiser because they’d just make it worse!

    [Reply]

  25. Teresa

    04/04/2014

    You totally nailed that!! I think most of us are guilty of doing those things as some point, but I appreciate it all being put down in black and white. .As a psychiatric nurse, one of the things I’ve learned that helps our patients is just to listen. Everyone wants to be heard. Thanks again ;)

    [Reply]

  26. Kjrsten

    04/04/2014

    Thank you. ;)

    [Reply]

  27. Jennifer

    04/04/2014

    This is great! I hope people are forwarding to many more people. We are all in a hurry and have our own struggles; it’s difficult to slow down and take time to thoroughly listen to someone and show some patience and sensitivity. Some people have never had supportive people in their lives and thus, they are short and insensitive with others. My mother was always like that. I am a counselor, and she can’t imagine why in the world I would want to be one. These are some great tips, especially for people who think they can’t respond well to others.

    Some teachers at the high school I work at freak out when a student mentions something personal to them and then send them directly to me. Talk about dismissal. Chances are they won’t go directly to me after just being cut off by another adult. I tell the teachers they don’t have to know the right words or advice–I don’t–they just need to listen and validate their feelings. Just say something back that let’s them know they were heard. Just a heartfelt, “Man, that’s tough,” goes a long way. There have been many times when I said not much more to a student, and later they came back to thank me and tell me how much better they felt. I don’t ever say, “You’re welcome,” or take any credit. I usually just say, “I’m glad you feel better,” but sometimes I try to inquire a little further if something deeper was going on and they seem more ready to go there. A teacher could start that way, and then encourage them to see the counselor if needed.

    Validation! Most of the time, that’s all people are seeking, and it’s so easy to provide if we’ll just listen and forget about ourselves for a few minutes.

    [Reply]

  28. Julie

    04/04/2014

    This is great! I’m sure we all say the “wrong” thing once in a while (some more than others), but we all need to be more thoughtful about what we’re saying. Such a great reminder! Thank you!

    [Reply]

  29. Patty@homemakersdaily.com

    04/04/2014

    This is a really great post. You’re right – we’re all guilty of saying these things at some time or another – but if would be better if we didn’t! I’ve been especially working on the one about not giving advice unless I’m asked. It’s hard because I love giving advice!!! But my daughter and daughter-in-law don’t always want it. Sometimes they just want to be heard.

    Anyway, thanks for the reminder and the encouragement.

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  30. Kerrie

    04/05/2014

    I can relate to so many of those! I have a toddler and am about to have baby #2 in a few weeks. I keep hearing “you think you’re tired now. Just wait” and “try having a baby who didn’t sleep for the first ___ years of their life.” I’m never sure how to respond, and I’m not sure if they’re trying to be funny, or just make conversation. It doesn’t usually feel like they are trying to encourage me by saying I will never sleep again, but it’s hard to know why people say the things they say.

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