When we encounter disaster or profound sadness, most of us feel awkward and perhaps a little afraid because we’re reminded of our own mortality and that of our loved ones. We often really want to help, but it’s hard to express ourselves so that the one suffering feels able to take advantage of our offer.
We often say something along the lines of “Let me know if you need anything”, which is easy to say because it fulfills our need to appear helpful without fully committing to longer term engagement in the unpleasantness of our fellow’s suffering. We know this is a soft commitment and the sufferer does too. This article has a guide to what to say and do If we really want to help.