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How to Be A Person

I want to collect/write a non-expert's list of how to be a proper, empathetic person. I thought about this yesterday upon reading IndigoMontoya's post about talking to sick people (and those affected by their illnesses). I've thought about it in the past when Whiskey in the Shade and I put together a list of things we were told after surviving abusive relationships. I think about it when ED survivors on here talk about being praised for their weight loss even though they are dying inside.

People are emotionally unintelligent and I believe it is largely because our culture perpetuates the notion that if you are hurt or in pain, it is largely because you are the one who is not operating correctly. By being depressed, you are ruining your own relationships. By being offended or upset by the actions of someone else, or being thirsty for something in a relationship that you cannot get, you are the one who has hurt yourself.


Struggling with depression (and grief) and going through therapy have taught me a lot about empathy. I am not going to pretend to be some sort of role model, but I genuinely feel like there should just be a handbook about how to talk to people in difficult or uncomfortable situations. Many people do not grow up equipped to appropriately handle conflict, or with the knowledge of how to ask for forgiveness (and what to expect after you ask), or how not to give an apology, or how to be close to someone who is depressed or suicidal.

Because I am no expert on these things, I'd love to crowdsource some stuff. Have you been through something, and someone said the WRONG thing to you? Have they said the RIGHT thing? Have you said the wrong or right thing to someone else? What did all of it mean to you? Were there lasting effects?

I may put this in the form of an illustrated book (or blog post, but I am a purveyor of analog arts).

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