Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

Please don’t say, “You Should…”

Posted in Broken Relationships, Career Change, Caregiving, Grief and Grieving, Illness on November 13th, 2008 by Jim Hughes – 5 Comments
Ban "Should" from your vocabulary.

Don't say "You Should."

“You should…” is the last thing you want or should have to hear from friends and family during a difficult season.

Yet when our lives are in chaos because of the loss of a loved one, a broken relationship, a lost job, or a serious illness, it seems to be the natural reaction of those well-meaning folks who want to help us.  You see, it’s part of the faulty co-dependent gene that most of us have floating around inside us that makes us feel like it’s our duty to fix people.

But as this quote from Louise Hay says perfectly, the “You should” statements are extremely harmful — not helpful.

“You see, I believe that should is one of the most damaging words in our language. Every time we use should, we are, in effect, saying “wrong.” Either we are wrong or we were wrong or we are going to be wrong. I don’t think we need more wrong in our life.”

When we’re in difficult seasons, our lives are dominated by chaos and grief.  We’re simply not capable of accepting and acting on coaching or advice.  And that’s especially so when when the coaching or advice  points out that we are not handling things the way someone else thinks we should.  It just makes us feel worse.  Less adequate.  Less able to cope.

When you’re in a difficult season, you’re just trying to cope, to put one foot in front of the other, to get through it.

What you need and want is someone to be a quiet affirming presence in your life.  Someone to listen.  Someone who is interested in what it’s like to be in your shoes today.  Someone who intuitively knows what you need and provides it.

What you don’t need is someone who wants to fix you.  Someone who is uncomfortable with your pain and justs wants you to “be normal again.”  Someone who’s quick with the “You shoulds.”

So please, don’t say “You should…”  Do say, “I love you.”  Do say, “I care.”  Do say, “I’m here to listen if you want to talk, otherwise I’ll just hang out with you.”

Thanks to JJ Lassberg (@jj4tlr) for using the quote in her blog post yesterday which prompted this post!

This is What Friendship Looks Like

Posted in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care, Illness on October 31st, 2008 by Jim Hughes – Comments Off

Sometimes while doing chaplaincy rounds at M. D. Anderson, I happen to be in the right place at the right time to participate in a special moment.  Today I got to be present for another one of those times.

I’d just entered a patient room, a guy I’d visited last week as well.  He could hardly wait to tell me that the preacher and one of the elders from his home church had driven down from Oklahoma City to spend some time with him.  And almost before he could finish the sentence, in they walked along with the patient’s wife.

For the next 15 minutes, they took turns telling great church stories, which had us all (including the nurse who came in to do vitals) laughing, and enjoying each others’ company.  When the elder began telling about announcing to their Bible class yesterday morning that they were coming to Houston for this visit, both he and the patient shed tears — evidence of the close bond they share.  And then the five of us joined hands while the preacher of 60 years prayed about God’s power and our shared desire for healing.

On our way out after the prayer, the preacher explained to the patient that they would visit him four times during this trip, the second time tonight after dinner.  Each visit would be short, and would include prayer.

That these two men would drive from Oklahoma City to Houston speaks volumes about how valued this patient is to that church.  And there are no words to express how valuable it was to this patient to have two dear friends be present with him during this time of trial.

I want to be that kind of friend.  Because I need those kinds of friends.

Originally published in my personal blog.