Some people just seem to know how to behave and what to say in every situation. And others have to learn the hard way – they need to learn how to live.
I am more like the second type, and so I welcome it when someone teaches me a new simple way to understand how people work and how to approach situations.
How not to say the wrong thing
When someone is suffering – they may be bereaved, ill or feeling hard-done-by – what do you say to them?
Ignoring that they are hurting is not a christian approach, but saying to much is fraught with danger – it is very easy to make the person feel worse.
A good general rule is to say less and listen more. And sympathy is preferable to advice.
But recently I saw some more specific advice that made sense.
comfort in, dump out
If we consider how close we are to the hurting person, we can place ourselves somewhere in the diagram above.
And then we can apply the simple rule, comfort in, dump out.
If we are talking to the hurting person, or someone closer to the centre than we are (i.e. ‘further in’), offer comfort, not advice. If we want to vent, complain or share some advice, only do it to someone further out than us.
It’s that simple (as a general rule).
Read the original
I thought it was helpful. Read the original article by a psychologist and a mediator.