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This is one of a series
of brief articles on how to respond effectively
to annoying social behavior. An "effective response"
occurs when you get your
well enough, and both people feel
article offers (a) perspective on "sadness," and (b) ways of responding to someone
who's significantly sad. It assumes
you're familiar with...
See how you feel about these
feel sad when...
Sadness isn't "caused by" grief. It is a
of the emotional level of grief. As such, it
helpful, and needs to be allowed to
complete at its own pace.
Over time, normal sadness fades into
acceptance and peace - i.e. sadness is usually a
state, unless grief becomes
Sad thoughts and feelings come from one or
more of your
who "activate." The
thoughts and feelings recede when the subselves
Non-specific sadness is a common
symptoms of "depression" - which may
actually be grief over some expected or actual
loss (broken bond).
People who experience significant sadness in
another person may become uncomfortable, and
feel they should reassure and make the sad
person "feel better." This is specially true of
adults and kids. Often this really aims to
lower their own anxiety around the sad person.
People who feel and show little sadness over
losses or others' pain are usually ruled by a
false self, and may be unable to
People who are "perpetually sad" are
probably ruled by a false self - like the
and one or
can allow sadness to
run its course and subside. (Lesson 1)
With these premises in mind, reflect: how do you
normally feel around a notably sad
person, and what do you normally do? Now
recall the last time you felt sad. What
did you need other people to do? Empathize?
Comfort you? Listen? Question? Reassure you?
Hold you? Distract you? Talk? Be silent?
can you respond effectively to a sad person?.
your true Self is
you. If not, make
a high priority or lower your expectations.
until they become automatic
Notice what you
feel with or about the sad person. Then
decide what you need.
s/he needs from you now, and choose from
responses like these:.
"(Name), how are
"You seem very
"Do you want to
talk about anything?"
If the answer is "Yes," use
"Can I give you
"Do you need
company, or would you rather be alone?"
you need now?"
Note the theme of these sample responses -
brief, direct, respectful, focused on the sad
person in the present, and acknowledging the
sadness without trying to discount, deflect, or
"fix" it. For contrast, consider these...
Responses to Avoid
"I know just how you feel."
This is an arrogant assumption. You probably
Focuses on the
future, not now.
"C'mon (Name) - it's not that big a
deal." This is a disrespectful
"Lighten up, will you? You're bringing
us all down with your gloom." Ditto
"Don't come out of your room without a
happy face!" (Implication - "Your
sadness is wrong/bad, and you're responsible
for our happiness.") A shaming
put-down to young kids.
"I remember when that (situation)
happened to me." Shifts the focus
from the sad per-son to you.
"Hey, everyone - welcome Prince/ss
Gloom!" A sarcastic, unempathic
put-down, and clumsy attempt to offset
sadness with humor.
"But look at the good side..."
This discounts and invalidates the
great? She never let's things get her down!"
Implication - the other person is
not great (bad) for showing their
"It's more fun to be around upbeat
people, don't you think?"
criticism that implies the sad person is "no
. Note the theme of these responses -
arrogant, disrespectful, sarcastic, judgmental,
self-serving, and unempathic. Have you ever
received comments like these? If so, how did you
feel? Responses like these suggest a false self
is in charge.