The Worst Thing You Can Say to a Friend

Those are fightin' words... Recently I was speaking with a friend who, like all of us is going through a lot in life but for her it seems that everything has sort of come to a head. I have tried my best to listen and be supportive, whether it's helping her move or serving her a hot meal.

I've heard countless stories and tried my best to come off as a supportive friend but recently during one of our emotion-filled phone calls she cut me off, yelled at me and said some of the most hurtful words in the English language, "you don't get it." She went onto explain that I wasn't there, and how it's easy for me to see things in black and white because I don't get it.

Why did that single phrase strike like a physical blow to the gut like it so often does when exchanged between friends?  Because as friends, don't we feel like our friend's triumphs, mistakes, mishaps, and  glory-filled moments are also our own? Don't we hear about every detail millions of times over and love it? Don't we ache when something doesn't pan out for them? So when they say, "you don't get it you weren't there, it's easy for you"; you want to yell out, no it's not easy to see my friend in pain, it's not easy to sit quietly when our lives are not simple and yet we do. We put ourselves second so we can be of service to our friends in a moment of need and for them to discount that, to remind us that their lives are not our own serves as a reality check; maybe we should step back and let them figure this out on the their own and get back to our own stuff.

The phrase itself is not kind nor realistic because as friends we more than get it, but I suppose it's not up to us to provide answers or to disagree but rather to listen and offer hot meals. People often tell you what they want and if my friends tell me they want me to shut up and just listen as they rant then I will, just don't tell me I don't get it.