thanks but no thanks

You know when you’re down on your luck, going through a terrible time, and all you want to do is drown yourself in a vat of melted chocolate? Then, you lean onΒ your loved one for support and they say, “don’t worry, everything happens for a reason.” Really? Am I the only one who gets stabby over this saying? My dog got run over for a reason? How comforting.


Now, obviously people say this because they think they are helping, so I can’t fault them too much. I’m equally bad at comforting people. I never know what to say, so I just try to smile and offer to buy them pizza. “Oh, you lost your job? Does that mean you want your pizza with extra cheese then?” I’m terrible at it. Once my friend was crying because her boyfriend suddenly broke up with her and I tried to make it better by doing a dance for her. I even made up a song to go with it. It made her cry harder. Oops.

Be careful who you say ‘things happen to a reason’ to. Things are more personal than that. Things are more traumatic than that. There is no good reason for many things to happen – rape, cancer, infertility, child abuse/molestation, the list goes on.

(PS – Nothing traumatic is happening to me, and I don’t even own a dog. No worries, friends)

159 thoughts on “thanks but no thanks

  1. Inga says:

    It the upset person is someone I know well I will ask, “What would be best right now, shall I try to take your mind off it or just sit with you?” then if they say they want their mind taken off it a dance or silly story are perfect, if they are in the soggy stage of grief, not so much. πŸ˜‰

  2. Lynette d'Arty-Cross says:

    I do not like that saying. First of all, I’m not religious, and secondly, it implies to me that I somehow deserve it. However, I try to keep the perspective that they’re just trying to comfort.

    I used to be very awkward around people who are suffering. I kept thinking that if I had the power to take it away from them, I would, but otherwise, I didn’t know what to say or do except the dishes. Finally, I realized that that’s what I would say to them, and then just sit quietly.

  3. terrepruitt says:

    Well, I think that people that say that BELIEVE that, but it could be that the person they are saying it to, doesn’t believe that. Because, yes, some people believe that your dog getting run over by a car happened for a reason.

    And, obviously when that is said everyone takes it differently, like the comment I am seeing from Lynette D’Arty-Cross saying they take that as an implication that they deserved it . . . but I have never thought of it that way. So . . . hmmmm . . . .

    I have come to a point of just trying to give support in the form of a hug or something non-committal because even if MY dog got run over by a car to say that it happened for a reason (to me) implies that YOU believe that . . . or to say “I know how you feel” implies our situations are the same and they aren’t. So, when your dog gets run over by a car, I will hug you and cry with you and try really hard to keep my mouth shut!

    Oooo! I like Inga’s response to things “What would be best now?” I have to try to remember that!!!!!!!!

  4. i'm_going.home says:

    The oddest words come out of our mouths during ackward moments. Perhaps you and your loved one could collaborate to create a situation comedy [your humor is intact] or enjoy the gift of silence. On a serious note, I’m so sorry about your dog. I’ve had animals around me all of my life and I still have memories of all.

  5. Lady Dickson says:

    WOMAN. I nominated you for a Liebster Award. Go to my latest post to read all about it you wonderful human person.

  6. mahencha says:

    That is a serious pet peeve of mine as well. Sure, everything happens for a reason, and that reason is cause and effect. It doesn’t mean that the reason it happened makes it all OK, or that something good will come out of a tragedy. That is just wishful/magical thinking and is of no comfort what so ever.
    Honestly I like your way much, much better. “Hey, that sucks, here is an act of kindness that shows I care about you. I can’t fix it or make it better, but I’m here for you.” That is way more meaningful that shrugging it off and saying it happened for a reason.

  7. PursuePeaceBlog says:

    Love. Love. Love. This is such an easy thing to say when a loved one is struggling. I have caught myself doing it on many occasions. However, it rarely helps. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  8. Worlds Biggest Fridge Magnet says:

    “Everything happens for a reason” is the best friend of “plenty more fish in the sea” and “you’ll feel better in the morning” et al!!!
    We do say these things as we believe it helps but boy, when you are the one in the situation, its the last thing you want to hear yet we still perpetrate the myth….!

  9. Po' Girl Shines says:

    I think people get confused about the “everything happens for a reason” deal. Sounds good, but the real thing is “Make the best out of the krap that comes your way or you get angry and evil and it won’t be pretty.” I’m pretty sure that God does not punish people or why would most of the krappy things happen to good people and the good things to the bad ones? I used to wonder about this, but can’t because I remember other sayings I’ve heard such as “The devil takes care of his own” which I also don’t believe all the time. I do know that horrible, super unfair things happen that when I pray I ask God about because it seems super evil and how is this happening except that we all have free will here and some people aren’t doing what they are supposed to be doing which causes most of our tragedies. We want to feel in control so we have our belief systems. Actually nothing makes sense and everything does. I had my dog unexpected die the night of my last day of work and I was really looking forward to finally being able to be with him more. If that’s not a kick in the teeth by fate or something, I don’t know what is. It did seem demonically planned to me and did not make sense, but made perfect sense at the same time.

  10. Mellow Curmudgeon says:

    Feeling an obligation to say something when one has nothing to say is tough. I would much rather give/get a nod and a gentle touch on the shoulder than give/get some fatuous verbiage. As U noted, the folks who say those hurtful things want to be helpful. They just don’t know how.

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