(from Demotivatingposters.com)

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, you find out who your real friends are when you’re in the midst of a crisis.  Not only that, you find out who is less-than-tactful.  I try to keep in mind that most people truly do mean well.

Some are from the older generation who advise me to be careful “not to get into trouble” before my divorce goes through because it might look bad in court.  What the heck?!?  Me?  What could I possibly do that would even begin to compare with what my Ex did?!?  What sort of trouble did they have in mind, anyways?  I don’t drink, smoke, do drugs or even buy lottery tickets… and I’m certainly not going to start a life of crime at this late point in my life.

Most hated expression of sympathy: “You’ll be stronger after this.”  UGH.  I am strong.  I don’t need to be stronger.  It implies that I am a spaghetti-spined, shrinking violet who  has lived a sheltered life and needs a dose of reality to become ‘stronger’.  Nobody who actually knows me well has said this to me, but I have heard it from casual acquaintances who don’t know that I’ve already battled through one divorce, raised kids, survived an attempt on my life, worked in tough male-dominated industries (boat yards and commercial fishing industry). That, and more, has given me all the strength of character I hope to ever need.

2nd most hated: “It’s character building.”  GRRRR!  See above.  Ditto.

Another gem:  “Don’t worry, you’ll find another man some day.”  Little do they know, I’ve already met plenty of men.  Sometimes I inform them that I AM dating and sometimes I just say that  I’m not worried about it.  But it’s still annoying.

And this is always helpful when you’ve just lost your husband, the man you thought was the  love of your life, when you find out that he was looking for sex with other people;  “Why didn’t you step up to the plate?”  From this, I deduce that they assume I was neglecting him and forced him to see ‘comfort’ elsewhere.  Well, he got EVERYTHING he asked for from me.  I never once turned him away, ever, and he always knew he was welcome to all the ‘comfort’ he wanted.   My theory has always been that a happy husband doesn’t look elsewhere and I strove to make sure that he (and my first husband, when I was married to him) were more than happy.  Well, guess what?  When the husband is bi-sexual and wants sex with men, I can’t do much to help him with that.  There is no “stepping up to the plate.”

I also really dislike it when people remind me to keep my dignity.   Maybe it’s because I was raised in a conservative New England family where voices were never raised, calm was always maintained and no one would think of conducting themselves in a less than dignified manner, or maybe it’s my natural temperament, but I really don’t need to be told that I need to keep my “head high” and “maintain my dignity”.  To say so leads me to construe that they believe I might be indulging in Pity Parties or creeping around like a dog with its tail between its legs.  Not me.

But, there are some things that I did really appreciate.  Just saying: “I’m so sorry” is fine.  Nothing more needs to be said.  Also nice; “How awful; you didn’t deserve that.”   I deeply appreciated those who offered an ear to listen or shoulder to lean on and those who said to call them if I needed anything.   Of course;  “He is a jerk!”  and other similar sentiments about the Ex are always welcome.

Lastly, humor is one of the best defenses against tragic circumstances.  Levity somehow lightens the heaviest loads.

I know that, especially when confronted with unexpected news, it’s not always easy to find the right words; so I hope I managed to gracefully accept the offerings that came my way, tactful or otherwise.   The important thing is that the spirit of kindness was there.

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