Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Pet peeve: when people say something cliche because they don't know what else they can say.
Like when your friend breaks up with her boyfriend and you tell her that time heals all wounds. Or that there are other fish in the sea.
Or when a loved one dies and all you can think of is "she's in a better place now."
I remember when my best friend called me to tell me her father committed suicide. I remember sitting on the floor for an hour or two, sobbing hysterically while she tried to explain what had happened. I didn't give her advice. I didn't know any. I hardly spoke a word that entire time. There were no words that would have sufficed, no pre-packaged, trite saying that would give her any real comfort. My heart broke for her and I felt lost. It seems to me we're taught there should always be something to say, but there wasn't-- nothing that wouldn't have cheapened that moment.
Our lives are nothing like Hallmark cards.
Sometimes saying nothing at all means a whole lot more than grasping at straws; most of the time, just being there, being a friend, being a listener, is all another person really needs. We learn to feed each other those hollow feel-better-soon sort of lines in times of trouble. And we all know they're lines, stand-ins to help us through those moments when words fail. But words fail for a reason. Because sometimes there really is nothing you can say to make it okay.
And that's fine.