There were two columns: DON'T Say... and DO Say... Surprise surprise, the "don't" column was a lot longer =) I thought it was very well done!
For example, don't say:
- "Just be patient. All in God's time."
- "Whose fault is it, his or hers?"
- anything to give unsolicited advice
- (my personal "favorite"): anything that would give false hope (I know people are trying to be helpful, but it hurts to hear someone say, "Don't worry - you'll be a mother! I just know it." Only God knows whether I'll be a mother, and I'm well aware that it could not happen.)
- Etc. etc. etc. I could go on, but I think it's better to know what to say than what not to say.
- "I'm so sorry to hear that you are going through this. I will pray for you both."
- I appreciate that so much - expression of sympathy, plus prayers (if it's genuine and doesn't come across as "I probably should say I'll pray for you but I don't really mean it..." I love when people offer me prayers. Just in the last month, a friend prayed for us at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, and a friend is going to pray for us at a shrine to St. Anne in Canada - both of them offered without me asking. I'll take all the prayers I can get!!!)
- "Is there anything I can do to help?"
- Usually my answer is: please pray for us. I mean, what else can someone do? It would be great if they cleaned my apartment or bought my groceries, but I've never asked for that =)
- "You don't have to go through this alone. If you ever want to talk, I'm here to listen."
- I appreciate this one too, especially the latter. The problem is, I never know how to bring it up (IF) with my friends, even after they offer. For me, I really appreciate them saying - at an appropriate moment, when we're alone - "You don't have to talk about it if you don't want to, but I just wanted to see how you're doing. I've been thinking about you." That means the world to me, especially because IF makes me feel so forgotten and left out.
- "Is there anything we can do as a parish/diocese to help you and other couples struggling to conceive?"
- No one has ever asked me that. I have lots of suggestions if anyone does!!