I am an imperfect person. I did once ask a non-pregnant woman if she was pregnant. I do put my foot in my mouth. But don’t we all sometimes?
I’ve noticed a trend in articles that start with “5 things you should never say to…”. These articles that scold me or warn me to say or not say certain things make me nervous. I can’t be hip to every culture and all their nuances and what they struggle with. I don’t understand what it’s like to always be skinny, quiet, single, have constant anxiety… I do know what it’s like to be in mourning, be a new mom, and even struggle with depression…but does that even make a difference?
The truth is, I still make mistakes when I do understand a certain group. When someone shares something heartbreaking, like losing a loved one (been there before), finding out about an illness…I just know in my heart there is nothing I can say to make it better, so I fumble around hoping to say something compassionate. It doesn’t always work.
If I meet someone new I want to know more about them. I might ask an idiotic question just grasping at a tidbit they shared. I don’t do it to be offensive or obtuse. I do it to understand more.
We are humans and we are curious and often not sure what to say. We most often ask the wrong question just trying to gain some understanding. I’d rather have someone ask me something stupid in an attempt to understand my situation better, than be ignored because they are so afraid to say the wrong thing. In fact I have some great stories about funny statements or questions I’ve been presented with (including a manicurist who told me to eat more vegetables so I could lose weight ~ still hilarious).
So the next time someone you care about says something that shows they don’t know your story or don’t understand what you’re going through, share your heart and help them join you in your struggle. If someone less important says something, just smile and know they just don’t get it and maybe that’s ok. Who cares what a stranger thinks anyway?