I know how you feel

18 Apr 2019

A neighbour's dad had died only a few months after being diagnosed with cancer. He was 50.

I knew my neighbour struggled and I wanted to tell her that I understood as I really missed my dad. I was sitting next to her as she stared into space and was about to tell her all about what I had learnt, when I recalled how tired I became of people telling me about when their father died when I was grieving. I knew they were being helpful but I just wanted someone to listen.

I listened to my friend. Some days we just sat in silence and other days she tried to explain through tears how she was feeling.

I think there is a fine balance between letting someone know you have some idea of what they are going through and that they are not alone, to taking over and making it all about your experience.

People use these words in many types of situations, not just grieving. I have had people say to me when they find out I have bipolar, I know how you feel, I am often moody.

I can see it is a natural human trait to want to relate to another person, but I don't think you have to know how they feel to show some compassion.

I realise not everyone will feel like this and may welcome those five words - I know how you feel.

I am interested in how people react to the words I know how you feel, do you use them or do you have a problem with them?

What words would you prefer people use? Or do you think silence is better if you are unsure of what to say.


A Moodscope member.

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