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Forums / Staying well / "You can't say that!!" - knowing when to admit/accept that you don't know what to say.

Topic: "You can't say that!!" - knowing when to admit/accept that you don't know what to say.

4 posts, 0 answered
  1. Soberlicious96
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    Soberlicious96 avatar
    519 posts
    10 August 2020

    Sometimes people say things that they think are helpful/constructive, when they are not. They/we don't usually mean to say unhelpful or destructive things, but we just can't find the solution. And we usually really WANT to, but just can't. So we say the first thing that comes to mind without really thinking it through, or searching our minds for a better or different response.

    Have you had that kind of experience? I have.

    Take for example my experience with a hair dresser I had one time. It was an appointment that was a 'trial' for how I wanted to wear my hair on the day of my upcoming wedding. I was both excited and nervous, and obviously quite sensitive too. So I described how I wanted to wear my hair, and her reply to my description was "Oh you can't wear your hair like that. Not with those big flappy ears either side of you head!" I WAS MORTIFIED!!! Here I was, a 'precious' bride-to-be, and there she was INSULTING my ears as being too 'big and flappy' to wear my hair pulled back and out of my face for my special day!!! I ended up smiling through gritted teeth for the rest of the appointment, and then getting my car and bursting into tears and crying all the way home. I felt so insulted and put down. and so very ugly and self-conscious. She COULD have gently suggest instead some alternative styles ..... but no, she just told me I had 'big flappy ears'.

    Like too when you break up with someone, and sometimes the first thing someone else says is "Oh well, there'll be someone else out there for you." And yeah, maybe there will ..... but maybe too, single life is better for some people? It's hard to move on from something that you've not even really processed yet. Usually the last thing you want to think about is 'someone else'.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that it's okay to say "I don't know what to say." or "I don't know what to do" and even to admit that you want to help, but don't know how. I sometimes even admit that "I might be about to put my foot in my mouth, but I think or feel ........"

    Sometimes the first thing we are tempted to say, can be the LAST thing a person needs or wants to hear. Perhaps you would like to share your experience of this, being mindful of course not to really identify any particular person or place. Maybe too you have some great solutions and alternatives to offer? Anyway, the floor is yours, my fellow humans! xo

  2. Aaronsis
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    Aaronsis avatar
    2459 posts
    10 August 2020

    Thank you so much for the opportunity for us to share what doesn't work Soberlicious96...so many times, as you say, we start a conversation with every intention to help, to ease someone's pain or to offer words of comfort and they come as out..well triggering, or just plain wrong...

    I guess one of the obvious ones that I try to avoid when offering comfort to someone who is feeling depressed or just plain low is "try to be happy", or "try to smile"...while there is nothing offensive about these words they just come off as almost like a slap to the person..like they have not tried to be happy or they have not tried to smile. If it was that easy as trying to do these things we would not have the amount of people screaming out for help.

    I have a trigger with regards to when I talk to others about suicide and suicidal thoughts and so I am mindful that others may too, so I try to avoid cliche statements as they often do come across as unsympathetic, even though that is most definitely not what I mean.

    I really look forward to hearing what other people share here and I think this is a really important thing to talk about..just as somethings really do help..some things really dont.

    Great post!

    Hugs

    Sarah

  3. romantic_thi3f
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    3078 posts
    11 August 2020 in reply to Soberlicious96

    Hi,

    Thank you for starting this thread- and I know it's inspired by that wonderful tv show on ABC ;)

    "What have you got to be sad about?"

    "It could be worse / It's not that bad"

    "You should be grateful"

    "Just be positive everyday"

    "You don't like how you're feeling - well, just change it!"

    I actually heard two of these things yesterday. I know the intentions can be good, but this was really unhelpful for me to hear.

    I agree that it's hard to know what to say. I think sometimes just being there is more important than anything.

    rt

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Emmen
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    Emmen avatar
    388 posts
    11 August 2020 in reply to Soberlicious96

    Thank you for starting this thread, Soberlicious96.

    "Don't be anxious." / "Don't be depressed." - Possibly the least helpful thing I've ever heard people tell others. I'm not saying that people who say this have bad intentions (I was told not to be anxious before by a well-meaning individual as well). But anxiety and depression aren't light switches that can be turned on and off. It would be far more helpful if people just listened and empathised instead.

    - M

    1 person found this helpful

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