Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Echo of Empty Words

I was struck the other day at how many times empty, meaningless words drop from our lips. We say them not even realising just how meaningless they are. It is, for most part, done unintentionally and usually offered as a kind of comfort to the recipient.

First scenario:

A friend comes to you and tells you of some of the challenges she is facing in her life and she ends by saying ‘Please keep me in your prayers’, and you glibly answer ‘Of course I will pray for you’. As you say it your conscience reminds you that the last time your knees hit the floor was about six months ago or maybe more. Too late though, it’s been said.

Second scenario:

Someone else recounts a tale of loss, or grief or some misfortune or the other. As s/he talks you murmur from time to time how ‘you know just how s/he feels’. No you don’t! So why say it?

Third scenario:

A colleague at work complains to you about how fed up she is with her job and that she’s planning on throwing in the towel and resigning. You rise up full of indignation and announce that if ‘she leaves you’ll leave too’ (how many times have I heard this one?!). No you won’t!! You’ve got bills to pay, food to buy besides you love your job. Why did you say it then?

I guess it’s a need to connect on some level with the person who is pouring out their heart and soul to you, to identify with their heartache, or anger or distress that drives us to offer up empty words of comfort. A sort of ‘we are in it together’ – camaraderie.

Why do we feel pressured to say something when a squeeze of the hand, a nod of the head, or simply silence, will do?


Blogger adefunke said...

It takes a secure person to just squeeze your hand, nod their head or just keep quite. It also takes a secure person to accept any of the above as a suitable response

1:01 pm  
Blogger Biodun said...

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10:26 am  

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