What should you not say to a struggling coworker?

When a coworker is struggling, what should you not say to them?

Well the most common, I think, habit is to do what you do in every other situation which is to relate like, "Oh I also love the color blue" but that usually ends up meaning that if you say like, "hey, I have cancer."

Then suddenly they're like, "Oh, my aunt had cancer!" Dot dot dot...

-ouch.

"And then, she..." You know, you're like stuck in this terrible conversation about outcomes, when really all you meant to do is build the bridge. So usually you really don't have to offer them anything from your own life. Just make a little space and say, "I'm so sorry to hear that."

Leave a little minute and see if they want to take the off ramp because usually people just kind of want to talk about reality programming or like how much they hate their suite mates. So it's just like give them the off ramp and they'll probably take it.

-Any other favorite suggestions?

I think that deep desire to explain other people's suffering is so normal. So like, "Oh was it something you ate or maybe it's in your family" just all the kind of free association that people usually do. Usually someone who's struggling kind of doesn't need an explanation.

They maybe need like cookies the next day and just a little bit of space to get their own lives together with a little peace.

-So it sounds like you want to avoid conversational narcissism. If I'm trying to comfort you, it's not about me. It's not my job to explain why you're suffering.

Yeah and a gifted presence is kind of more powerful than people realize it is. Like also just presence, man. I love it when someone is like, "Oh hey I got you this food." I'm like, "Great, we're now best friends."

-Awesome.

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