Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Gift of Caring

by Lois Jamieson
Last Wednesday, I posted an etiquette and manners article about showing a little kindness.  That post was the first of a trilogy called, “The Gift of Kindness, The Gift of Caring and The Gift of Generosity.”

What is the correct caring etiquette when you answer the phone and learn that a friend finds herself in a tragic situation?  How do you respond?  I just recently received not one, but two such phone calls.  And to complicate matters they were from sisters. The first call was to tell me of the loss of a grandson.  The second was to tell me of the loss of a son.

The most caring thing to do:
                (1) Do not ask for particulars.  Just listen.  Chances are your friend doesn’t want to talk                       about it now – later she will.
                (2) Keep your conversation short.  She only needs to hear your voice.
                (3) Ask what you can do to ease your friend’s pain – make phone calls, send food, etc.

A handwritten note, not an email, is an appropriate next step.  Later when your friend is ready, a visit is nice. Just be there for her.  Listen and hold her hand.  Show your friend how much you care. 

Of course each situation is different, but in most cases, if you follow this advice you are giving a friend a gift of caring.