When someone we care for is hurting, we are tempted to rush in with a “quick fix” to help make the person feel better. When a person has lost someone or something important, he or she grieves, and you can’t immediately fix it. Grief is a journey that takes time—lots of time. Offering advice in the form of clichés and quick fixes may make you feel more at ease, but that’s not the objective if you want to be a compassionate friend.
To be a helpful friend, avoid using these cliches and quick fixes:
“Tomorrow will be a brighter day.”
“When the going gets tough, the tough going.”
“Win some. Lose Some.”
“This too shall pass.”
“All things work together for good to those who love God.”
“When God closes one door, he opens another.”
“Count your blessings.”
“God doesn’t promise us a rose garden.”
Quick Fix Statements:
“You look great.” (Implying that the person should also feel great.)
“Well, here’s what I think you should do. . . .”
“My uncle had the same disease and . . .”
“You’ve got to pull yourself together.”
“Everything will be just fine.”
“You’re a strong Christian person.”
“You know what the Bible says . . . ”
“What do you think that God is trying to teach you through this situation?”
“I understand. . .”
“Try to look on the bright side.”
“Be strong.” Or “You are a strong person.”
“I know it hurts but . . .
…you can get pregnant again.”
…you have other children.”
…you will marry again.”
…there are other fish in the sea.”
…you prepared yourself for this day.”
It is helpful to remember that as caring friends, we can’t fix another person’s suffering. So don’t try. However, we can be there and encourage the person to talk about his or her conflicts, struggles and feelings.
Download our reference chart, Avoid Using Clichés and Quick Fixes for a handy reminder on what to say to a suffering friend.