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What Should I Say?

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No More Foot-in-Mouth Moments!

It’s happened to all of us—that painful moment of blurting out the wrong words in an effort to say something in the midst of an uncomfortable situation.

What Should I Say? presents over 100 potential foot-in-mouth moments and gives you the right words to say, whether you need to comfort, question, encourage, or congratulate. It’s not only what you say, but what you do that matters; practical hints combined with Godly principles give suggestions for what to do and not do that will help you make your message clear.

With the right words and deeds, your message will achieve its purpose!

With What Should I Say? at your fingertips, you’ll confidently face life’s sticky, tricky, uncomfortable situations, knowing you’re ready with just the right words.

Why I Wrote This Book

I never planned to write this book. Then several years ago, in the course of a few weeks, one friend’s marriage suddenly and traumatically ended, and another friend’s husband was killed in a tragic farm accident.

During the difficult weeks and months following these events, my friends told me several times of things people had said and done that comforted them … and things that had been said and done that just added to their pain. Other friends, family members, and acquaintances came up to me during this time, saying they just did not know what to say or do to comfort these women and their children, who had lost so much.

Then my father-in-law was critically injured in a fall, and during his hospitalization and recovery he and my mother-in-law and husband and I experienced many helpful and comforting words and deeds, and some that were not so helpful or comforting.

Around that time I began to notice, in everyday events, and through Bible study, the power of words and their ability to heal, and hurt. In everyday conversations, people began to tell me about various situations they’d been in and how words from others had hurt, or healed.

They shared with me their feelings of helplessness when they did not know what to say when someone was in the midst of a crisis. Sometimes they compensated for their discomfort by saying something—anything. Many times, unfortunately, in their haste to fill the silence they said the wrong thing. Other times people dealt with their discomfort by avoiding the person who was suffering. One lady told me how painful it was when, after the death of her baby, she knew people were avoiding her; she would see them in the grocery store, obviously turning away from her because they didn’t want to have to talk to her. From my conversations with many people, I suspect they were avoiding her because of their fear of not knowing what to say to someone who had experienced such a devastating loss.

One day I looked back at all of these events—my friends’ tough times, my own experiences, what other people told me, what was revealed to me through Bible study—and I knew God was leading me to write this book.

As I told people about my book, they shared more and more events in their own lives, in which words and deeds had helped, and hurt. It seemed I added another section to the book almost daily!

I have several goals in writing What Should I Say? Perhaps the most important is to prevent others who are going through a traumatic time from experiencing the pain that my friends sometimes did, by providing an easy-to-use guide to what to say and do when someone is experiencing a great loss.

For the person trying to come up with the right words, it’s easy to put foot-in-mouth (or, in some cases, whole-leg-in-mouth!) when talking with someone about any number of tricky, sticky, uncomfortable situations. Therefore, I’ve included a wide variety of situations you’re likely to face at some time (maybe many times), and the words you can say to help—along with the words that will definitely not help.

My prayer is that readers of What Should I Say? The Right (and Wrong!) Words and Deeds for Life’s Sticky, Tricky, and Uncomfortable Situations, will enable readers to confidently face sticky, tricky, uncomfortable situations, knowing they’ll be able to offer the comfort, support, and encouragement someone needs.