Ever have one of those moments when you're talking to a friend, and she says something that makes you think, No, she did not just say that? But the truth is she did just say that dumb, insensitive thing, because she thinks she's helping.
That happened to the divas and me all the time as we were going through our divorces. Here's a list of the some of the things people said to us.
- "You'll find someone else 'cause you're cute as a button."
- "You need to tiptoe around him because he's really hurting right now." (What my pastor said to me, even though my husband was having an affair. I don't attend that church anymore.)
- "Well, it happens to 50 percent of the married population. You're a statistic now."
- "I had another friend who went through a divorce, and I really struggled to have a concerned look on my face when she would talk to me."
- "What's your ex going to do? Where's he going to live? What are his plans?" (Who cares?!)
- "Why would you expect his family to remain close to you? They're his family, not yours."
- "I just want to know what happened to my friendship with your ex-husband, 'cause he and I were really close."
- "Maybe he got that hotel room for some other reason, like he just wanted to relax for the afternoon."
- "Learn from this and make it right in your next relationship." (What someone told a friend who assumed she didn't like sex because her husband had had multiple affairs.)
- "Maybe if you had been a stronger Christian woman during your marriage, you wouldn't have gotten divorced." You can read more about stupid things people say at Communicating Across Boundaries. So what should you say?
- First, listen. Listen to her cry, listen to her scream, listen to her when she makes no sense. Just listen.
- Say things like, "I'm sorry you're going through this," and "Is there anything I can do to help?" And mean it.
- Offer to take her kids for the day, bring over a meal or help her pack if she has to move. Actions speak louder than words sometimes.
- Pray with her if she asks for prayer. A simple, "God, I ask for peace and comfort for my friend," is meaningful and restorative.
- A couple of my friends would text me words of encouragement and Bible verses. Those texts got me through many shaky moments.
- Say, "I love you," three of the most healing words in the English language.
Did someone say something to you that hurt you or helped you? Please share in the comments section.
Reprinted with permission from One Divorced DIVA to Another: A Blog From Women Seeking Healing From Divorce by Ana Gascon-Ivey. Ana is a long-time writer and editor based in Atlanta, Georgia.
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