The 3 Worst Things to Say to Someone in Pain

Don’t cause them more grief.

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Comments (13)

(12) Anonymous, December 22, 2016 7:22 PM

A comment that made me grind my teeth

When I lost my father, a friend called me to express her condolences. She said she was not going to pay a shiva call "because I don't drive to the area where you live." I did NOT need to hear that last part. Also, someone paid a shiva call to me during this time and proceeded to tell me about her plumbing problems. With that said, I have made blunders during shiva calls. Thanks to aish, I hope I am becoming more sensitive to other people's pain!

(11) Howard Sanshuck, December 4, 2015 11:08 PM

A Difference of Opinion

I agree with Rabbi Salomon that those things to say, it's God's Will, or I know how you feel are totally wrong. Sometimes I say "I'm sorry for your loss," which is showing empathy and acknowledgement of the person's grief, yet not making the person feel any worse from the speaker. Also, I think you should stay away from everyday chatter such as who is getting the new car, you or your brother? I've had a few occasions to talk with children who have lost loved ones when I worked as a Counselor for a school district, and have said that so and so is in heaven. Today with the secularism in the schools that could get you fired, but I still might say that though outside of the earshot of an administrator or a teacher who is an atheist.

(10) sharona, December 3, 2015 9:21 PM

Thank you, we definitely need to know what to say and not say. And sometimes just a listening ear helps, and a hug.

Acknowledge and validate, "That sounds very difficult - frustrating........" Listen and acknowledge

(9) Anonymous, December 3, 2015 2:38 PM

3 things not say to someone who is grieving

THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! I lost my husband three years ago and I heard every one of these from people. the other thing I heard was "its time to move on". . . .thank you so much for this. I know these things are true and I appreciate so much hearing them from your heart!! SHALOM!!

(8) Mr. Spock, December 2, 2015 1:26 AM

Respectful Disagreement

With all due respect, I consider it acceptable, under certain circumstances, to tell a person in pain that "everything happens for a reason" - in particular, if the one in pain is a person of faith who believes this to be so. I am such a person. When things don't go as I might have liked, I remind myself that there is a reason for it. Should I ever momentarily forget this, hearing it from another person would be most helpful.

(7) Chuck Stern, December 1, 2015 4:24 PM

Here are some things that you SHOULD say

1. Is there anything I may do to help you?
2. Are you getting all the help that you need from the rest of your family/friends/doctors/other professionals?
3. Nothing. Just hold your friend's hand.

Diana, December 2, 2015 4:40 AM


Awwww - besides your comments it was just nice seeing your name. My father's name was Charles Stern.

(6) Yael Berk, December 1, 2015 4:03 PM

I agree

What the Rabbi is saying is so true...and often a person who is suffering physically or mentally just wants to know that someone is there for them and is willing to listen and hear what is happening. He/she doesn't really want advice or comments....just to know they have someone's ear.

(5) Anonymous, December 1, 2015 3:29 PM

Toda raba! for NOT what to say, but ???

Rabbi, you say: "Belief really means that everything that happens is for the good" For me that is very very very hard - in fact IMPOSSIBLE !!! - to understand / to accept !

(4) Anonymous, December 1, 2015 1:36 AM

re: pain AND the so so so funny videos from Project Inspire!!!

Dear Rabbi:
i have been watching all the funny videos from Project Inspire and your name is affiliated with all/most of them. this has something to do with PAIN because the reason i was watching them is because i'm in pain. and i wanted to laugh to help with the pain!
gosh Rabbi; the Friday Night at the Hockers was the most hysterically funny video i've ever seen! i watched it quite a few times and laughed each time as much as before!!
the Bikur Cholim one is funny also. and i found and watched all the different videos from Project Inspire which are humorous!
Yasher Koach to EVERYONE involved!! the actors in the Friday Night video and the Bikur Cholim video are so so so so funny! and the plot/script etc. what a great job everyone did!
and i just discovered ones such as the Expert etc.
so................thanks for YOUR contribution to kosher videos which are helping me with my pain! i LOVE them!
kol tuv.

(3) Bobby5000, November 30, 2015 11:21 PM

Not seeing someone because that are sick

The biggest problem is the person who doesn't see one who is ill because of a fear of saying the wrong thing.

(2) scott, November 30, 2015 9:58 PM

keeping the list going

#4. "Well, at least you have your health!" (no, you make me nauseous.)
#5. "Well, let me tell you what happened to me!" (I don't care.)
#6. "Oy, you're gonna make me cry!" (so cry.)
#7. "You really need someone to talk to." (why not you?)
#8. "OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG." (anything else?)
#9. "It's so hard. Wanna drink?" (no, maybe a movie.)
#10. "If I were you, I would end it all." (so be me.)

(1) Anonymous, November 30, 2015 7:18 PM

Great topic

Such a wonderful, useful topic to give advice about!


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