It was just the other day that a good friend of mine called me in dismay about his dog. He had spent his last 14 years with this dog and he loved her dearly, but her time had come and the decision to make was difficult. We talked several times and I offered any condolences I could. I know in times like this it’s often best to just listen.
Well, after he saw her off, his heart was heavy and he reached out to some people. Most said the right things, but, as is often the case, there has to be one – the one that says, “Just get another dog!” Obviously not a person to go to for any condolence. Just get another job, another car, another girlfriend, wife, kid, mom, dad, where does it become stupid?
When someone is grieving, they’re not asking for a solution, they’re looking for a shoulder to comfort them. And, as any man should learn (from women), solving the problem is oftentimes the WRONG thing to do. Women make much better friends in these times than men. And of course this stupid comment came from a man. Could there be a doubt?
I read a great book, and in it a woman complimented the author’s father for being the greatest consolation at the loss of her own father. When the author asked how, the woman replied, “When everyone else offered me condolences and told me I’d get over it, and how I’ll be ok, the only person who offered her what she needed was the author’s dad. What did he say? Nothing. He held her and cried with her. THAT is true compassion. I learned one of the greatest lessons of my life from that book. Often times it’s best to just Shut UP!
Everyday I’m faced with know-it-alls and people who just have to talk to hear themselves. There are many topics I don’t know enough about and I choose to listen. No one likes a know it all…
So, when it comes to compassion, think – wait -and if in doubt—- SAY NOTHING!
Imagine just for a moment that the world doesn’t need you to resolve it’s problems, especially with your words of wisdom. If you’re on the front lines fighting, you don’t need an armchair quarterback yelling commands.