The coronavirus pandemic has made many people do a lot of soul-searching. So if you found yourself sitting at home and wondering what your old friend is doing, even though you haven’t talked to them in a while, know that you’re not the only one in this situation. However, reconnecting with an old friend can bring back a lot of memories and emotions.
You might feel so overwhelmed that you could say something totally inappropriate. Or you could make your friend feel awkward or even hurt. Of course, you probably know by now no to say something like “You’ve gained weight” or make a comment about their graying looks, but there are worse things you could say to someone unintentionally. Read on to find out why you should never ever say certain things.
While you might assume everyone in your group of friends remembers old times in the same manner as you do, you might be surprised to find out those moments that you recall as being fun, might actually be hurtful for other people. Sometimes you might even be remembering events completely wrong.
According to licensed professional counselor Leah Rockwell, founder of Rockwell Wellness Counseling, “Many of us may carry shame about our behaviors, decisions, and interactions, especially during our teen or young adult years in which we are still really figuring out who we are.”
Instead, Rockwell suggests trying to “share a positive memory you have of them or a reminiscence about a former teacher or connection before allowing things to shift to the ‘remember when’ conversation.”
She also added that you’ll notice if your old friend sends you signals that they are open to having a heartening conversation, rather than a conversation that can make both of you feel awkward.
Now you probably wonder, what you should never ever say to an old friend? Read on to find the top 4 worst things you should avoid saying at all costs!
For another situation that requires watching your words, make sure to also check the Top 5 Worst Things You Could Possibly Say to Your Ex.
Did you get married?
According to licensed psychotherapist Christine Scott-Hudson, asking someone whether they got married or not can be tone deaf and rude. First of all, you can’t know what people are going through. Maybe they just got out of a relationship and are still dealing with a lot of emotional pain. Or maybe they fear that nobody will ever love them because they feel unworthy.
There could be many possibilities. Maybe they’re in love with someone that doesn’t love them back, or they might be involved with someone and their families don’t approve, such as a same-sex partner, and they’re not ready to tell yet. Just because someone is not married, it doesn’t mean they’re not in love or in a meaningful relationship. No matter the cause, asking about marriage is definitely not a good idea.
Do you have kids?
Marriage and children are two of the most important topics that need to be avoided when talking to an old friend. No matter how tempted you are to ask someone about children, you need to watch your words.
According to Scott-Hudson, this might be a very hurtful subject for some people. You can never know what challenges and struggles people have but no one knows about. Maybe they didn’t want children, maybe they can’t have children, or maybe they’ve lost children, either way, this is a sensitive subject that should be avoided at all costs.
There’s no point in hurting your friend with these questions just because you’re curious to learn more about them. After all, maybe they will tell you without you having to ask.
“I haven’t heard from you in ages.”
Life can get really busy and people can grow apart, but that’s ok. However, you need to understand that very often, both parties are responsible for the drift. Therefore, making other people feel uncomfortable for the drift can be unfair. Moreover, as I’ve previously mentioned, you have no idea what people are going through.
According to Sandra Glavan, the founder of Super Sensitive Sandi, a website for helping people reduce and manage anxiety, talking to an old friend can be pretty challenging, especially now that we’re living in the COVID-19 era and the anxiety level is pretty high.
Glavan also explained that anxiety is currently the most common mental health issue in the world. Therefore, having to deal with anxiety every day can feel very tiring and overwhelming. Anxiety affects people’s ability to do even basic, daily tasks.
“Also, anxiety is characterized by excessive and irrational worrying,” she adds. “People struggling with this mental condition tend to feel guilty for not spending time with people or calling them.”
“What happened to you?”
Another question that you should stay away from. If you talk to a friend that seems unwell or in bad shape, try to avoid asking them too many questions. If you can, avoid letting them know that you even noticed.
If the other person is not doing ok or seems worse for the wear, you can offer to help, but only if appropriate or solicited. According to author and life coach Aidan Park, this question can be very hurtful and damaging.
By asking “What happened to you?” you imply that something is wrong with them. It’s like making assumptions without knowing the facts. “Any statement that triggers a feeling of judgment or that something is wrong with them has a counter effect in creating a safe environment, ” he adds.
Additionally, make sure to also check What You Should NEVER EVER Say to Someone in Bed.