Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What Not To Say

Lately I've had a couple of conversations with some friends that left me thinking.

When something sad or tragic happens, there are things people say with the intention of helping, or sounding sympathetic. However, a lot of these phrases are more likely to hurt than help. Since the divorce, I've been on the receiving end of several of these comments. So I'm here to express my opinion on what NOT to say. Unless of course, your intent is to offend. Then throw these bad boys out every chance you get.

When somebody goes through a bad break up/divorce:

#1: "You deserve better than him/her anyway."

Ok, maybe it's true. Maybe they DO deserve better.
I'm sure people say this as a form of a compliment, or perhaps to instill hope that something better will come along.

Guess what though? You might as well be pouring salt in the wound.

When that statement falls on the ears of somebody who is freshly hurt, vulnerable, emotional, and more than likely retaining feelings for the ex, it comes across as an insult along the lines of:

"Your ex sucks and doesn't deserve you."

And let's face it nobody wants to hear that about somebody they were very recently in a relationship with, whether they don't deserve you or not.

#2: "Oh, your ex is definitely gay."

EXCUSE ME?! Now, I'm not saying whether or not this has or hasn't been said to me. But I will tell you that it was said to a close friend of mine after her divorce. I know, it's almost unbelievable that people have the gall to say such a thing to a recently separated person. (And that's coming from me, one of the most blunt people I know.)

First of all, even if you HAVE PROOF that the person's ex is gay-it's not your business. Second of all, the times that I've heard this was said (and there have been many), there was no way to back-up the claim. It's rude. End of story.

And if somebody said that about MY ex, I'd drop kick them in the face.

{disclaimer: I don't have a problem with gay people, at all. I just think it's a little overly ridiculous to call somebody gay just because they left their wife.}

When somebody passes away:

Now, this is a more serious topic, and I don't take it lightly at all. I've never had somebody close to me pass away, and I feel heartbroken for those who do. My friend, who had a close friend die in an accident, and I were talking about a saying we hate, and that is:

"It was their time to go."

I understand that this could help some people feel comforted. But to paraphrase my friend, that means that we have a God up in Heaven, who stands there every day, and says, "I want him, her, and him today." I can see how that would make somebody be angry at God for the passing of a loved one, and give Him the blame.
I firmly believe that God does have a plan for us, and that He wants us to come and live with Him again. But I also believe that we have free agency, that others choices effect us.

When somebody passes away in an accident, or by taking their own life, I don't know that I would find comfort in hearing that it was just their time to go. But that's just my perspective.

Ok, moving on.

When somebody has gained weight:

"You should start going to the gym."

I don't care how sweetly you say it, how much sugar you coat it with-to somebody that's gained weight and is feeling very aware of that weight gain, THAT'S JUST A SLAP IN THE FACE.

You might as well say, "I noticed you're fat, you gonna do something about that?"

Ouch. (I'll just straight up say I'm speaking from experience on this one.)

Well, I think that about wraps up this episode of What Not To Say.

If you have anything to add to the list, I'm sure we'd all love to hear it. :)


  1. The other day I was complaining about my weight to a friend, and she said, "Oh Sydney, you're not THAT fat!" ... Thanks. That makes me feel SO much better.

    How much do we really want our best friends to tell us the truth about ourselves? I want my best friend to tell me I look great, even if she is completely lying through her teeth. I know what I see in the mirror, and I don't need someone else confirming that.

  2. I can't believe that people would say the #2 under people who have had a divorce. Really?!?! "Yeah, you just spent every day of the last part of your life with a guy who's gay." I think that's ridiculous. And I totally agree with the the one about someone who has gained weight. I've had that one directed towards me a couple of times...

  3. Heidi--
    Last Christmas i ran into a girl i went to Jr high with .
    She looked at my belly, squealed, and to add further insult to this injury she put her hand on my stomach acting like i was pregnant.
    Icing on the cake was that i wasnt. and i'm not. cheers.

  4. I know that I am not always the best at comforting people that I'm not close to so I try to say as little as possible. I do have a best friend who will tell me like it is and if someone else says something I don't listen to it. I just wish people would keep their mouth shut. My question is, is it better to say nothing? I think so.

  5. All I can say is..... I LOVE YOU HEIDI & I THINK YOU ARE SUPER HOT! & ANY guy would be Lucky as Shii to have you! JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!

  6. Hey Heidi,

    I read your blog on occasion and enjoy it. Recently my husband and I decided to get a divorce after a little over 2 years of marriage. I'm mormon as well. Any advice for me? my e-mail is nhandly@gmail.com. Thanks

  7. When I just had my baby people said about him:

    "He's covered in scabs."

    :/ I'm usually so relaxed as a person so people I suppose become relaxed about my attitude...however, that's just rude in my opinion. People's rudeness keeps me sharp as a tack, though, as now I know what *not* to say to parents - basically keep your trap shut and offer clear assistance to people. Don't say "if there's anything I can do..." be clear and don't be vague about how you can help.

    Another time someone actually outright said to me "Oh wow, you've put on weight, haven't you?" and I was a little taken aback. They then went onto say how much better I looked with a little weight gain (LOL...um okay, well sure beats me feeling crappy for it!) and that I didn't look 'so gaunt.' Looking back on photos I could see their point and took it as a compliment and since then I haven't really let my weight get the better of me. If people think I'm too skinny or too fat, it's their problem and if I think I'm too fat it's my problem that I will solve.