Can we please stop writing lists and blogs of what NOT to say to each other?
I’ve been seeing so many headlines about what NOT to say to a grieving parent, what NOT to say to someone of a different race or ethnicity, what NOT to say to a veteran, what NOT to say to a transgendered person. This does nothing to keep our communication lines open but only makes us more afraid to say anything to anyone.
We all will say the wrong thing at some point to the wrong person, but that is how we learn. People are already terrified of saying the wrong thing, so let’s not make them any more paranoid than they already are. If you run across a veteran or have a friend whose child died or make a friend with someone of a different race, please don’t be afraid to talk to them. Just say something. Start the conversation. Guaranteed you will say something “stupid” at some point, but as long as you are speaking from a place of love and empathy and are willing to learn, you will be just fine.
And if you are on the receiving end of someone saying something “stupid” or even down-right offensive, please recognize it as a teaching/learning moment, and not as a reason to embarrass or demean them for their ignorance on the topic (assuming they are open to learning). At least they were trying.
Photo credit: Lisa Hall-Wilson https://www.flickr.com/photos/lisahallwilson/7633690420/