Ed Welch on More Things Not to Say to Someone who is Suffering

Ed Welch has addressed another thing not to say to someone who is suffering:

If you need anything, please call me—anytime.”

Suffers are usually gracious and give us a lot of slack for thoughtless remarks, so I was surprised when this became a theme. Those who mentioned it didn’t say that the comment was meaningless to them, though it was. They said that it was actually unhelpful. Why? I usually don’t ask that question, but I can piece together some of the answers.

  • If “comforters” knew anything about real hardship, they would know that sufferers usually don’t know what they want or need.
  • If comforters knew anything about the sufferer, they would know what the sufferer wants or needs.
  • If comforters really knew the sufferer, they would know that he or she would never make the call. Never.

The comment is the equivalent of “ta ta, see you later,” “luv ya, call me sometime,” or some other mindless goodbye. The speaker is not giving any real thought to the comforter’s needs and circumstances, and the suffering person knows it.

So don’t say “If you need anything, please call me—anytime.” to anyone.

Click here to read the whole article over at CCEF.

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