What Not to Say Wednesday: It Will Be Okay

11 Jan

I thought I’d start a new tradition here at Just Keep on Moving… What not to say Wednesday! This started with a post about all of the things not to say to a person going through a divorce. I realized the list was looooong. Thus, What not to say Wednesday was born. These posts won’t always just be about what not to say to someone going through a divorce. Over time and depending on  my inspiration we’ll explore other totally ridiculous things that people say. And we all know that there is an endless supply. Fun, right?


So up first… “It will be okay.”

Here’s the deal. Someone going through such emotional turmoil and general upheaval in their life, doesn’t need people telling her something as trite as “it will be okay.” Is that the best you can do? Really? “It will be okay” seems to be a quick reaction when we don’t know what else to say. This is most likely the case when it comes to finding out a friend or loved one is going through a divorce. We don’t know what to say. Our first extinct is to try and ensure this person that things will work out for the best. Unfortunately, these four little words fall flat. Way flat.

Somewhere under all of the emotions and the crap, this person knows that things will be okay in the end. This is how life is. “Time heals all wounds” and all that crap. They certainly do not need you trying to tell them this. They know they will go on living and breathing and in time life will bring other challenges. “It will be okay?” No shit. Try something a little more heartfelt next time Sherlock.

What to say instead: “I am so sorry you are having to go through this right now.” Empathize. Show this person that you care. Show them you understand enough to know that this is a really difficult situation for them. If you want to go further with any words of encouragement or the glass is half full approach, adding something along the lines of “In time, I know you will get through this,” is appropriate. See what I mean? So much more meaningful.

Words and changes,

4 Responses to “What Not to Say Wednesday: It Will Be Okay”

  1. Chrissy January 11, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    Love this topic!! Can’t wait for each Wednesday’s posts!!

  2. Laura January 13, 2012 at 1:02 am #

    Have you seen the series of videos like “Shit White Girls Say…To Black Girls” or “Shit Straight Girls Say… To Lesbians”? Here’s the link for the race one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylPUzxpIBe0 That’s like a whole wealth of things that should not be said if you ever need future inspiration.

    • justkeeponmoving January 13, 2012 at 11:54 am #

      Yes I’ve seen some of those videos. Hilarious! I particularly enjoyed a yoga one that ends with “nomaste mutha fuckas.” HA! I will definitely keep that in mind, but it seems like my silly life offers plenty of inspiration already. I also hope you’ll send little gems you hear my way as well.

      • Laura January 16, 2012 at 11:04 am #

        Here’s a gem: We have a lot of people come by our offices offering to buy books. During my first month of working at this job, a book buyer came by, poked his head in my office (without knocking), eyed my book shelf, looked at me, and said “You’re a professor?” in an incredulous tone. I answered yes, and then he says “But you look so young” as if I am supposed to explain how I could possibly be a professor. I know a lot of people would interpret that as a compliment, but it was definitely rude the way he said it. And what exactly did he expect me to say?!

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