3 Things Not to Say to Someone Going Through a Hardship

We’ve all been through some rough patches in life; it comes with the territory of life! There are those awesome loving support systems like our friends and family to guide us through tough times. They can be encouraging, helpful, and put our minds at ease during stressful times. However, there are also people who tend to say the wrong thing in those already sensitive moments. I would say most of the time, the person who says it means well and doesn’t know they’ve said something wrong. Here are three of the most common ones that I have found in my personal experiences.

3 Things Not to  Say to Someone Going Through a Hardship

  • This Too Shall Pass: This may feel like an encouraging reminder to the person saying it. However, I think it often makes the one going through the problem feel that their issue is being downplayed. When you’re the one in the situation, it can feel like an all-consuming problem effecting every aspect of life. They don’t want to be told to just endure it and that it will eventually pass.
  • My cousin/Sister/boyfriend did “XYZ”: Don’t box their problem in with a similar problem you’ve encountered. What worked for your contact may not work or make sense for their problem. It will again make them feel that their problem is a one fix, easily answered issue. Sometimes the person just needs to be listened to and not a solution. 
  • Everything Happens For a Reason: Please oh please do not say this to someone going through a tough time! Maybe this is true, but it is NOT what someone wants to hear. This could make them feel angrier and almost as if you are saying their problem is meant to be. Instead, be a listening ear and offer advice when asked for it. 

I hope that you found this helpful. I know it’s so hard to pinpoint what to say in tough situations. Being a listening and supportive ear goes a long way in my book!

What other things am I missing? Do you ever feel this way? 

Tell me in the comments below!

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16 thoughts on “3 Things Not to Say to Someone Going Through a Hardship

  1. I’m so glad you wrote this, because it’s so true! I occasionally do get into those rough patches of life, and I think that you’re spot on when it comes to saying those things. It does feel like people don’t care when they say those things, no matter how much they’re trying to help! Definitely try to figure out a solution, or try and understand the problem are my two pieces of advice!

  2. Awesome post–I’m with you on this. I totally agree that most of the time, people just want someone to listen. I try not even to give advice unless they ask for it. Instead, I try to just say things like, “That sounds so hard” or “I support you.”

    • Yes! It’s so much better in most situations! I feel like most women will ask for advice if they truly want an opinion. Majority of the time though, they just want a listening ear!

  3. Wow, this is so good for me to read, because it reminds me that I can some times be like Job’s comforters and say the wrong thing because I make the wrong assumptions. Often it seems like the best way to comfort someone is just be there and listen and care. <3 Thank you Heather.

  4. My friend is a certified grief counselor and she did a speech once that covered these exact topics. You are spot on! Even in parenting (though not a hardship but a challenge) and I have when people say “my sister/mom/friend did XYZ”. Sometimes compassion (not advice-giving) is where it’s at!

  5. For me, when I’m talking to someone I just want to vent more than anything, I really don’t want advice. My husband is the king of giving me advice, though, and I’m just like look dude, shut up and listen to me haha. But I LOVE all of these. I would also add, “God only gives you what you can handle!” <– I hate even hearing that. I read a story once about a woman who had 22 week triplet premies and only one survived and she said that was the worst thing anyone told her.
    I WILL say, sometimes this too shall pass isn't the worst – I was texting my friend the other day in a total meltdown because Ryan was having fits and slapping Owen (over a toy that is Owen's) and I really needed to hear that this was a phase and he would grow out of it. But I do know what when you're in the thick of something that doesn't clearly have a start/end time (like kid's phases often do) it is such a frustrating phrase.

    • Great points! I think majority of men do this with the advice! Ive had to tell my husband that sometimes i just need him to listen and nod!

  6. Love this! I know people have good intentions, but sometimes they say the worst things that only make you feel worse! I have a hard time figuring out what to say to people when they are having a hard time. I know that I don’t want to hear, “it will be ok”. So, I’m not always sure what to say. I wish some people would think about how they would want to be treated in a tough time rather than just say the first thing that comes to mind!

    • Yes, that’s a good point too! When you put yourself in someone else’s shoes, the words that come out of your mouth will probably be different! Great point!

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