Better: How are you feeling? How are you coping with those feelings?
Not: Have you been reading your Bible?
Better: Here’s some verses that have encouraged me recently.
Not (just): I’m praying for you
Better: Here’s what I’m praying for you
Not (just): We’re here for you
Better: Would you like to come over on Saturday/go for a coffee on Wednesday/watch a DVD? You can let me know on the day if that’s easier.
Not: I know just how you feel.
Better: How do you feel?
Not: Let me know if you want to talk anytime
Better: I’m in tonight from 7 if you want to come over or catch up on the phone
Not: What do you DO all day?
Better: Tell me about your day
Not: There’s plenty more fish in the sea
Better: What a tough week: I’m proud of you for handling this. Want some company?
Not: God’s got a partner for you
Better: I’m sorry this is hard. Can you see any ways that God is working through this situation?
Not: Cheer up: it’s not as bad as you think
Better: Here’s how you encourage me – and this is why I’m glad we’re friends
Not: You look like you’ve lost/gained weight.
Better: How’s your eating going? Have you had dinner?
Not: Why don’t you just stop X?
Better: What makes it hard to stop? How can I help?
Not: How long do you think you’ll be sick for?
Better: I’m here for you as long as it takes
Not: This is the third week you’ve missed church.
Better: X, Y and Z send their love. We were thinking how much we miss you. Would you like to come on Sunday: and if it’s hard is there any way I can make it easier?