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Knowing how to comfort someone is a skill that not everybody has. In fact, some of us outright suck at it.

It doesn't make you a bad person -- maybe you're awkward under pressure, or uncomfortable, or didn't have healthy models of empathy. Maybe you just panic and don't know what to do.


A friend once had a beloved and compassionate coworker panic and offer his computer monitor when she cried at his desk. She was gesturing at the box of tissues next to the monitor, but thanks?

He had never seen her as anything other than totally composed and on the ball. Sure, it was a disaster of a day but she was the one who always saved the day without breaking a sweat. Her actually being shaken was such a shock to him that he kind of shorted out and just started panic-offering her things.

Computer monitors are terrible for tear absorption.

One Reddit user asked:

What's the worst way someone has tried to comfort you?

... computer Kleenex wouldn't even crack the top 25. It's kind of disastrous.

Thanks, Teach!

Interested Saturday Night Live GIF by HULU Giphy

"So, have they found someone new yet?"

One of my parents died. My parents had been married twenty-five years. A teacher asked me this question five months after the funeral.

She later told my surviving parent that my depression was because I had to share a room sometimes with a sibling. Not because of my dead parent.

- wzzz11124

A Music Career

At my boyfriend's funeral a girl he went to high school with came up to me and tried to comfort me by saying she knew "exactly" how I was feeling because she was in love with him too.

They never dated, they weren't even friends after graduating high school.

Now she's made a music career from writing sad love songs about him that make it sound like they were together.

- h3llbaby-ri

Happy Birthday!

Episode 4 Birthday GIF by Friends Giphy

A few years ago, I caught pneumonia, and a stomach virus at the same time. Needless to say, I was really really sick. I was in the hospital for 9 days, and one of those days happened to be my 27th birthday.

One of my aunts that I don't really know was in town, and wanted to come visit. When she got there, she gave me a card for my birthday, which was nice, but when I read it, it said "since this looks like it'll be your last birthday, I'll say my goodbyes now LOL".

Now, I'm all for dark humor, but at that point I'd already lost 14 pounds from throwing up, I had a 104 degree fever for multiple days, I was delirious and hallucinating, and hadn't slept in days. I was in legitimate fear that I was actually going to die.

Told my mom after I was better that I didn't want to see that aunt ever again.

- floridas_lostboy

The Original Owner Of The Book

People say and do some weird sh*t in attempts to comfort others. Myself included.

But the biggest stand out was when my mother was first diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer (she is doing great now). She received a second hand book called Cooking and Coping with Cancer.

The original owner of the book didn't need it anymore ... because he died of cancer. So his wife thought my mom would like it.

The intention was kind, but it was just a bit depressing.

- theWildBore

Prosperity Gospel

When I had my first miscarriage, husband and I were attending a Word of Faith type church.

Their words of "encouragement" were that our baby had died because of some hidden/un-repent sin in my life + my faith wasn't strong enough, and I should just keep praying.

You would think that a church of all places would embrace you in your suffering and loss.

These guys (& gals..) just kind of out-casted us like we would bring them bad luck.

It was a weird time, and after that I found it hard to hang out with any of them or believe most of what they were teaching.

We went on to have a healthy little girl and found a much less toxic church, but to this day if anyone mentions the prosperity gospel to me I have a lot of things to say.

- kannakantplay

No Dogs Go To Heaven

don bluth 80s GIF Giphy

My wife and I got a dog back before we were married. GREAT dog. Wonderful animal. Very much our first child.

Fast forward a few years and our sweet girl had to be put to sleep. I was at work and upset about it. I couldn't stop leaking a little just thinking about her. My very Catholic friend told me that, if it was any comfort, dogs don't have souls.

WTF?

- edgarpickle

Panic And Dog Food

I was this person unfortunately. I don't react well with sudden bad news and often say the first thing that comes to my mind out of sheer panic.

I went to get my hair cut in college and as I sat down the small talk started. She asked how things have been blah blah blah. I asked how she had been (it was our first time meeting) and she says "my dog just died."

Immediately the alarms are going off in my head, a man is running around my brain blasting a whistle trying to figure out my next step.

"At least you'll save a ton of money on dog food now."

No... Please no!

Unfortunately it was already said, everyone stopped what they were doing immediately, you could hear a pin drop. She just continued cutting my hair for what was the quietest haircut I've ever got. I couldn't even apologize I felt so bad and so awkward.

I just shut my damn mouth and looked straight ahead while hoping I still had both my ears by the time I left.

- OriginsOfSymmetry

"That's What Drug Addicts Do" 

My cousin died of a drug overdose, my father called me to tell me the news.

After I got off the phone, visibly upset, I told my husband (now ex) what had happened. He said:

"Well what did you expect to happen? That's what drug addicts do, they die. And he did it to himself, there is no reason for you to shed a tear, get over it."

then went back to playing video games.

I didn't even know what to say to that, and just went to the other room to mourn by myself. It was an abusive situation and I am still in the process of getting divorced 2.5 years later.

- Lil-one

How NOT To Treat A Phobia

I used to have a phobia of scarecrows that began when I had a repeating nightmare where I would be chased by one in a dark cornfield.

A girlfriend I had in high school invited me along on a youth group trip. She didn't tell me much except we were going to a camp the next state over and would be doing things like going to an apple orchard.

The first full day, we all get on the bus, and she tells me that we were going to a corn maze.

She hid this from me as she thought it would help with my phobia given she'd be with me and it was day time... I dumbly agreed and made it through the maze while white-knuckling her hand the whole time.

When we got out, I asked how much longer we'd be at the maze... that's when she told me about how it turns into a haunted corn maze at night... anyone want to take a guess at what the actors were dressed as...

It did not turn out well in the slightest.

I had a huge anxiety attack mid-maze and tried to make a b-line for anywhere not the maze by running in a straight line through the field. I got disoriented, I got lost in the field, I could feel my heart pounding out of my chest, I was in the literal setting of my nightmare... and there were multiple scarecrows chasing after me.

Imagine the best day of your life.

You're surrounded by people you love, you're at your favorite place, you're eating your favorite food, and you're favorite band is playing a playlist they put together just for you.

Your ex shows up and admits all their faults and ask your forgiveness without asking to be apart of your life. Your current crush pushes them aside and says they've always had a thing for you and gives you a puppy of your favorite breed saying it is a symbol of your new love....

What ever you're feeling in that moment... what I was experiencing was 100% on the f*cking opposite side of the spectrum.

I eventually desensitized myself to scarecrows by watching movies like Wizard of Oz and Batman Begins on repeat. I'd still slap the teeth out of anyone if they try to get me in a corn maze though.

Things didn't work out with that girl.

- Goose_Ex_Machina

I'd rather Burger King

On the day my mother died, I got home after looking after my family, dealing with undertakers etc and the first thing my boyfriend said was he needed me to drive to KFC to get him something to eat. He is now my ex. I wish I could say that was the worst thing he did but it wasn't. That crazy thing is, I don't think he ever acted out of malice, which was a bit of a headscrew because half of me was thinking "he doesn't mean it" so I'd give him the benefit of the doubt and the other half of me knew that if this was just the way he was, nothing was ever gonna change.

PicturePost

It's not Tinder Time

Funeral GIF by memecandy Giphy

When my husband died, someone reassured me that I was young and would find someone else.

At the wake. He was literally not in the ground yet.

ClassyBroadMSP

Shut Up! 

During my dad's funeral, when I was a teen, some women told me while I was crying « stop crying, your tears will only multiply and drown your father on the other side ». How about you shut the hell up.

unoriginalusern

Don't Speak

When I miscarried my son my husband's mother told me "Don't worry, you can always have another baby" I know b**ch, but I wanted THAT one.

Alohamora95

It's About Me!

excuse me omg GIF by CBC Giphy

Been dealing with diagnosed depression for a few months now and lots of people including a therapist said "it's been a rough year for everyone."

ThanosPizzaCrust

Those worse off...

Absolutely hate when someone says "there are people who have it worse." Like I know that, of course I know that, but I'm not talking about other people I'm talking about me and how I feel matters just as much as anyone else.

marshmallowtumors

It's called the fallacy of relative privation, or plainly put "There are starving children in Africa that have it worse."

Just cause you can name someone who has it worse than you doesn't invalidate or make your pain any less important.

Underlipetx

I'm Awful...

I once said to a colleague, who had struggled to conceive, that the positive was she'd gotten pregnant, so it could happen again. And I have never forgiven myself for being such an insensitive cow. I was desperately scrambling for something positive, and I should have stopped at "I'm really sorry dude, that's freaking crap."

Elrith

Honestly I can see where you were coming from, you were trying to give a silver lining in the bleak situation. I had a similar situation where I worked in a large company, and I had a weekend off only to come back with a baby shower gift and nappies and wipes to surprise a pregnant coworker.

I started talking to her about baby shower themes while her eyes welled up with tears. I stopped and asked what was wrong, she promptly left the room sobbing and I sat there like a knob until another coworker discreetly told me that she had an ectopic pregnancy and ended up having to get one of her fallopian tubes removed. I sought her out after giving her some time and I apologized profusely. I still think about it a lot.

Alohamora95

Just Drown

weird fish omg GIF Giphy

They told me there was plenty more fish in the sea. At her funeral. And it was her uncle.

RedRangerIsSus

Foot in Mouth

Imagine saying to someone who lost a foot. "Well, there are people who've lost both their legs." I'm sure there are, but how does that help me when I'm suffering? It's the ultimate selfish behaviour. It screams, "I'm uncomfortable and uninterested in your suffering, so I'm going to belittle it and imply that you should be grateful for it."

AfterTowns

Feelings...

"Your feelings are weird, stop feeling them."

ACatD

I've had "why are you crying that's so pathetic" so now i don't cry in front of people and when i do i have panic attacks.

cryptidallycat

Just Smile?

"Cheer up, other people have it worse than you."

That's the rudest and most malicious way to tell somebody to get over something.

Violet_Velvet_97

Yeah, like dude, just because some person is homeless somewhere does not mean my feelings are basically an insult to others.

A_Dood_4

Just Breathe

Telling me to "calm down" when I'm angry.

ThatOneWhoSparkles

Dude my dad does that! He's all like "relax, calm down" but doesn't give me space to do so. I tend to self soothe so I need five minutes to myself but he expects me to just turn off my feelings then and there.

alaynaj18

Insane Places...

I just posted elsewhere this, but that is just crazy. My parents are very religious and when she had her first child she was stillborn. And the people from the church told her God had to kill her because she was going to grow up a criminal. Churches are insane places. She went on to have three healthy children... but how do you move on and continue to go to a church with people who talked to you/believe that.

I hope everything has turned out well for you and you're healthy and happy!

ThrowRAImpressive

B Negative

britney spears wink GIF Giphy

Toxic positivity. I just learned about this and was thrilled there was a name for why I distrust and don't like people that are aggressively positive.

BWDpodcast

being 8...

Age 8: I was getting super bullied, on account of being obnoxious, smart, and having zero social outlets aside from school.

One morning I told my dad, in tears, that it felt awful to not have any friends. My dad was 35-ish at the time. His response was to tell me that he doesn't have any friends either. I argued that he went to work all day and everyone there was at least nice to him. He said that only made them acquaintances, and we just have to deal with it.

Edit: oh crap I'm 35 now. And you know what? The last response I'd have to any beleaguered kid is that hey my life sucks too.

phalseprofits

It's just the flu...

Pretty much everyone telling me after losing my grandma to COVID that everyone has lost someone, and everyone is suffering. Basically saying w/o saying that no one gives a crap about me and that I need to shut up and deal with it.

JHXC16

Change the Station

I was crying about not being invited to a party in high school and felt like a loser in the moment. My brother just put on the song Creep by Radiohead.

shouldbeworkingnoweh

School Daze

I was crying in elementary school, I guess the other kids were mean or something, and my teacher, who, in my eyes, had all the personality and joy of a steamed cauliflower, told me "hey, kids made fun of me when I was your age and I turned out fine!" I wouldn't be surprised if I started crying harder as a result.

tomixcomics

New Plan

Luise Kinseher Yes GIF by Bayerischer Rundfunk Giphy

I'm a Christian, so a lot of people hit me with the: "It's all part of God's plan."

I believe it to be true, but that doesn't make it helpful in the midst of really difficult circumstances.

Minimalcharges

Let me Be...

I honestly hate when people try to ignore or dismiss my feelings, when they pretend like what I'm upset about isn't there or doesn't matter. Like, I get that to them, they may be trying to send the message that it's no big deal, and that life can go on and maybe they're trying to distract me or something, but it's honestly patronizing and insulting. I'd rather face my mess honestly and process it, then move on. I don't need to be treated with kiddie gloves, and I tend to distance myself from people who can't seem to stop using them, even when asked not to.

salthecrawfish

Grownish...

I started to get teary and that's when my early 20's male cousin said to my sister (14) and I (15f) in a rather creepy-tone, "You girls have grown up nicely" while we were getting ready for our grandmother's funeral.

EhhNo1Cares

Not Now

Well, you can always try again.

This was about 30 seconds after we found out we had lost our twins, after years of infertility treatments, and the heartache of not conceiving each month.

RoboNinjaPirate

Why Bother?

Excuse Me What GIF by One Chicago Giphy

My old boss tried to prevent somebody from going to their mother's funeral because, and I quote, "going to their funeral wouldn't bring them back to life, so you might as well be at work."

We covered for that person and let them go.

AmNotSatan

Cruel

First one that comes to mind is that maybe it's good I can't have children because I'm disabled anyways and maybe it's better if I don't.

odd_ender

"sorry about that" 

After my mom died from a 2 year battle with melanoma and lymphoma, someone I know said "sorry about that" and then proceeded to tell me all about their problems with their car and parents and friends for 25 minutes. I couldn't even get another word in. I felt totally like they were competing with me and didn't seem to care about my stuff at all. Really made me sad.

EeriePancake

Such Sincerity...  :(

Once in college, a girl I was dating and really liked ended things out of nowhere. I shared this with my mom and her response was "Aww she probably just likes somebody else." Still not sure why she ever thought that would make me feel better.

kale_blazer

Simple Inhale

paper bag GIF Giphy

I was having an asthma attack and couldn't breathe at all, my friend had left to find my puffer from my bag, my teacher came up to me and said "try to breathe, it's not hard just breathe slower."

nomnoodleRue

You're Still Breathing

To set the scene: a job opportunity that has sounded too good to be true was. Our cat had died unexpectedly and my father in law was being moved to hospice. I was on the phone with my mother weeping bc everything was going wrong and her response was "at least you've got your health."

Manateebae

Cry Pretty

"Don't be sad," was told to me at my father's funeral.

Or my favorite, "You're ugly when you cry."

Haha, I should have mentioned that these quotes are from separate events.

"You're ugly when you cry," was just my mom's way of trying to get me to stop crying when I was 5 years old or something. Honestly, it just made me hysterical. Pretty funny to me now though.

kana503

Let's test that theory...

Telling me it was God's will when a loved one died.

God wanted that person dead. Great, thanks 👍.

Zealousideal-Run6020

Ugh. So many people said that to me when my mom died. In my head I was like what if I killed you right now, that would be God's will right? I'm still bitter towards people but not that bitter lol.

justforfun887125

Hands Off

"Here, let me give you a motherly hug!" From some dumb dirty drunk middle aged dirt bag a month or so after my mom died when I was 20.

Flipped out callin' me a goof, and I was an ignorant little crap, oh yeah it was wild lol.

Thepoetofdeath

Jig it Up

jamming adriel favela GIF by Cornelio Vega Y Su Dinastia Giphy

After our first family cat died, my Irish grandfather tried to "cheer me up" by playing jigs on the accordion.

It had just the opposite effect, even though I appreciated his good intentions.

Back2Bach

You can go now mother...

I was in the hospital for weeks after brain surgery and then a staph-meningitis infection. I wasn't allowed to shower, i threw up almost everything i ate and i couldn't walk unassisted/unaccompanied so i wasn't free to roam. I was very depressed, tired and in pain. My mother's friend came by to "visit me" (she was really there for my mom) and the one time she did talk to me, it was to tell me about how her son got into a car wreck of his own doing.

He was hospitalized with very serious injuries including several broken bones and was temporarily paralyzed from the waist down. Her point being "others have it worse." Very crappy thing to hear when you're stuck in the Nuero ICU for weeks.

Saislights

Just Pretend

I told a friend I liked him as more than that and he told me he didn't feel the same way. When I told my girlfriends, they tried to comfort me by saying he has to be gay. I'm like "no he's not, he just doesn't want to be with me like that and that's okay." But they kept insisting that he's gay because of it. They were trying to make me feel better and not bad about myself, but it just made me mad that my friends were making stuff up about my guy friend.

lasheyosh

Cancer is Evil

My mother in law always responds to stories of my relatives' health struggles with cheery affirmations of how healthy she is and how glad she's never had to deal with these things.

When my grandma died.

While my father was dying of cancer.

When my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Her response to hearing other people's troubles is always 'well that's not my experience!'

Zealousideal-Run6020

Locked Out

I have sometimes have panic attacks that leave me in a mindset where I can't fully function as a normal person for an hour or two afterwards, and they're 90% of the time caused my by mother. One time, I got triggered because she was saying specific things about my family and as soon as I calmed down (my mind hadn't recovered yet, but I wasn't crying anymore) she started saying them again, but in a comforting tone and alongside things like "I'm only doing this so you can know the truth."

Needless to say I got insanely pissed off at her and locked myself in my room for the rest of the night.

PIT_OF_BABIES

Time Passes

Mr Bean Waiting GIF by MOODMAN Giphy

"So it's been awhile, then." It had been six weeks since I lost my grandmother when someone said this to me. Her loss didn't seem real yet, let alone 'been awhile.'

alleghenysinger

but you still have some coin...

I remember telling my dad I was sad and he told me one of the worst things you can say to someone who is and he said something along the lines of "at least you're not in debt" as if that negates my sadness. It's equivalent to saying "someone has it worse than you so don't feel bad." That night, he bought me a sandwich and he thought that would take care of it. He's emotionally immature and not in touch with this side of things at all. He's a real "focus in the positive" guy, but that, at least to me, is another way of saying "just don't focus on it."

PillsburyToasters

Little Psycho...

My dad had died in my arms and was traumatized by it. I was telling my story and someone yelled "SUCK IT UP YOU'RE A MAN!"

My dad may of died in my arms but I'll strangle the life out of a little jackoff with my bare hands.

But since murdering isn't an option I yelled "OK TELL US YOUR TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE A** WIPE!"

"Well my dog died my mom took it to the vet and put it down. But I didn't cry about it!"

Little psycho.

rickrolo24

Sure. Totes same...

Meme Wtf GIF Giphy

When my mom died.

Coworker told me "I know exactly how you feel because one of my cats died recently."

Sighwtfman


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