Things you should never say to your girlfriend who is grieving because…come on, dealing with loss is hard and you shouldn’t – don’t make it worse.
Grieving is hard. It is painful. It is physically and emotionally draining. If we had the power, we would never let a loved one die.
On the flip side, consoling (taking it upon yourself to comfort your friend) is…just as hard, and it could get awkward very awkward if not properly handled.
And if you ask me, I will say that when you don’t know what to say when all else fails always choose the lesser evil – put a lid on it. Give a hug instead: even an e-hug when you can’t be physically present, will do you justice far better than when you trip on your words and say all the wrong things and eventually end up sounding mean and detached when honestly you only mean well.
While assembling materials for this write-up, I chatted up a girlfriend of mine who is still very much in the throes of loss, and she proceeded to show me a conversation between her and her…
As I skimmed through the chat… though I wasn’t the one grieving, and I didn’t know the history between those two; her and her chat partner. I couldn’t help feeling like I was on the receiving end of a sympathy gesture gone awry.
I closed the conversation and sent her a brief message “is that girl supposed to be your friend?”.
“My boyfriend” was her abrupt response and I was like, “wait…your what?” *blinks* and runs back to read the messages again.
Some people really do suffer from a bad case of IMs(Inapproriapte Moments); saying the wrong things at the wrong time. Even when they say the right things, it still ends up being a case of wrong timing. they can’t help it.
If you are really concerned about your grieving girlfriend – at least that’s how it is supposed to be although I know some people take advantage of your vulnerable moments to spite you. “oh she has been annoying me lately, and I haven’t been able to get back at her. Now is a perfect time, a jab at her with words that hurt most disguised as consolation messages”.
I was told a story of a woman that had been trying for years to have children, and when she finally gave birth to twins, they died shortly after. Her friend came up to her and said “Oh don’t worry, God knew you don’t have what it takes to care for twins that’s why he took them back” wait…sorry…what did you just say? Repeat that nonsense you just spewed.
– make sure that before you go to her, you do the litmus test:
1. That you are really sorry for her loss.
2. Make sure that whatever beef you have going on between the two of you gets put on hold and the angst tucked away for a later date in the future.
3. You sincerely want to help.
That cleared we can proceed *for the good of all mankind* to 5 things you should Not say when consoling a loved one *takes a mock bow to your grateful applauses*.
1. I know how you feel
Unless the person who passed was a mutual friend and you also shared a deep connection with this person, you really shouldn’t say this.
Memories: is all she is probably thinking about; the ones they made together, the ones they were planning together. And if the personality behind her grief only caused her pain, then you can’t really understand, can you? – even if she may have shared some with you.
This is how she would probably react when you tell her “I know how you feel” – especially if she knows you’ve never had to go through grief. She will pause. Wipe her tears for a minute. Turn her head toward you. Her eyes will skim your face wanting to believe you, and then her eyes drop. She knows you are a phoney.
2. They are in heaven
When people say this in my hearing I literally push my glasses to the bridge of my nose and give them a stare. Did God during the night show you the host of his heavenly congregation? If the answer is no, then why?
If you have not noticed, every burial ad these days begins with ‘Call to Glory’ and ends with ‘May his/her gentle soul rest in perfect peace’ yet, we don’t know for sure if truly the soul was gentle.
What I’m saying is you may not have an understanding of the life the lost one lived, but your grieving friend is likely informed, and the reality may not be a promising one. She could have been trying to make him give up some vices and give his life to Christ, but now she is not sure if he eventually did before he/she(by now you understand I mean both sexes) passed and she is not too sure about his fate. So you getting all excited, and blurting he or she is in heaven! May end up doing more harm than good.
3. Stop crying. Crying won’t bring her back.
Please let her grieve edakun (I just learnt this word)! Allow her to shriek if she wants to. Let her bawl her eyes out. Let her get it out of her system.
Come…of all things, why would you tell her not to cry? Come and whisper it in my ear because I don’t understand you.
4. Get a grip already. It’s been how long, 2 weeks. A month?
Oh sorry, I didn’t know there was a timeline to grief. Who is checking the time – you?
This is a very insensitive thing to say especially if the loss happened recently…Unless (and this is a very big UNLESS) your girlfriend really needs to get a grip to get her finances together, her house in order, and protect herself from property-thirsty-in-laws, as the case may be. Then afterwards, when all is settled, you can allow how to ease back into mourning. Don’t put a timeframe to her grief. She will heal eventually in her time. Don’t try to jostle her into it.
5. Stick to the matter at hand
Now is not the time for “if-onlys”: if only the police turned up on time…if only our health system works…if only they had listened and not travelled. Is it really necessary? Come on, put yourself in her shoes. Is the blame game really necessary, like right now? Do you have to say that?
Anyway, I have a girlfriend that’s a few restraints away from scratching your eyes out if you try that with her. I said I should warn you *smirks*.
Lastly, remember that there’s only so much you can do for your grieving girlfriend and that your words can only go so far.
There are other things you can do too: being around when your friend needs to talk, helping around the house, hugging her, squeezing her hand. These gestures would go a long way.
Tell us, what are some of the things you should never say to your girlfriend who is grieving?
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