There are many standard cliché phrases that get said in times of grief. Many of which would be most helpful to the sorrowing if much of it was just left unsaid. In the deepest moments of pain words are seldom digested so that the soul might be comforted by them. Well meaning people who don’t know what to say, but say things anyway, need to hear what I say- Please shut up! (Of course I have shown great restraint by only thinking this and never saying it.) We need comforters but there is always a person or two that every griever wants to avoid. Don’t be that guy.
I cannot count how many times I have deliberately avoided particular people who have routinely puked out unhelpful kind words.Yes, I have felt this way among the people I love most in this world, my Christian brothers and sisters. Yes, I have had this feeling many times within the walls of church where I have run to God and at times have run from the people of God. People who quote Romans 8:28, walk away and have no idea how sick and tired we are of hearing. “And we know that all things work together for good.” This verse is true, but when in the onset of heavy grief it is of no consolation to the hearer. I have found that in our case there are only one or two individuals who repeatedly do this kind of thing. When we see them we go to the next isle or run for cover in the restroom. Please, don’t be that guy!
These are people who think they get it and don’t have a clue. They sincerely say things believing that they are helping you and deep inside you are screaming, “SHUT UUUUUP!” This happens all too often to my wife and I. We go to the car and say, “I know, they just don’t get it, just be kind, nod your head, smile and walk away.” Then a week later I see my wife trapped by the same person, our eyes lock and we repeat the same conversation we had in the car through telepathy.
I have decided to put an end to this in the kindest possible way I can. Sometimes with some people the direct and honest approach is the only approach that will work. I am a Christian, my words are always to be filled with grace. I am not too sure how to graciously ask certain individuals to stop talking to me and my wife about grief when they are totally clueless about our situation. What I am sure of is that I am done shrinking back, enduring and smiling as I look for the nearest exit. If I want this to stop then I need to speak up, if I don’t then I must just grin and bear it as best I can.
Sadly, they think they truly get it, but they don’t. When people truly get it they know when to speak, and when to be silent. The person who always has something to say usually doesn’t have a clue. These are the people we run from in the store and yes even in church. I don’t want to avoid and skirt these people anymore. They don’t know I am trying to avoid them, they don’t know that they are, “that guy!” How will they ever know unless unless I speak to the issue?
2 thoughts on “Don’t be that guy”
But what is the alternative? Having them say nothing at all? Not acknowledge our loss at all? I know people spout stupid things when someone they know is grieving, but complaining about what people say only prompts them to say nothing at all ( in future instances). And that, to me, is more hurtful than anything. We’re all guilty of saying dumb cliches when someone we knew lost a person they loved. Only when I lost my own child did I learn more helpful things to say/do. But I’ll take someone who cares ( but says all the wrong things ) any day, over someone who ignores my pain and says nothing at all.
The silence is hard as well, I admit that and have felt that pain too. Maybe I failed in communicating my angst is only with few individuals who habitually pursue the subject of grief. I appreciate your words, we all want people who care. But when a person is somebody you like, yet want to always avoid, is this something we must always just endure and smile our way through?