The Echo of Empty Words
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.
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?
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?