Comforting someone? Be sure NOT to say these things

A new poll reveals the worst things you can say to someone when you're trying to comfort them. Are any of these your go-to?

Mother and daugther talking by a lake

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Get. A. Grip. In times of emotional stress, they are the three words universally guaranteed to make you want to hurl a potted plant across the patio or pitch your mug across the living room.

The phrases “Get a grip” and “Pull yourself together” came out on top of a recent U.K. survey that sought to determine what phrases offered the least support to people in times of distress, reports the Daily Mail.

“There, there,” “Keep a stiff upper lip,” and “There’s plenty of fish in the sea,” followed as the most-annoying things to say to someone while comforting them (see the full list here).

Women, it appears, get particularly grumpy when someone tells them to get a grip during an emotional moment. (I can still recall hearing my mother holler, ‘How about I get a grip on you?!’ to my father when he made the same mistake.)

The list, conducted by insurance company AXA, reveals something interesting about how people cope with distress. Basically, we don’t like our attempts to share the contents of our hearts and minds to be discounted so quickly. We don’t like to wallow, but we do like to purge.

The survey also reveals how much we struggle to comfort one another in times of stress. According to the poll, one in five people said they didn’t know what to say to comfort someone in distress.

I can relate to that feeling. My best friend is currently going through a very hard time emotionally. My heart goes out to her and I want to help her in any way I can, but I have absolutely no idea what to say to make her feel better when she pours her heart out to me. At a loss for words— I’m not at the ‘get a grip’ stage of frustration, yet — I’ve been resorting to baked goods and cheesy TV movies.

So far, I’m up two pounds and so is she.

But perhaps I’m taking the wrong approach. The survey also uncovered the existence of a more helpful phrase, one that people find comfort in when they’re opening up about what’s troubling them.

That phrase: One day we’ll laugh at all this.

Oh, how I look forward to that day.

What’s the most comforting thing someone’s said to you? Tell us in the comment section below.