After the dismal Vikings vs. Eagles NFC Championship Game I was grateful to receive texts, emails and calls from friends and family. However, I honestly expected to hear from A LOT more friends and family. I'm sure that's selfish or greedy to expect people to think of me but I just thought more people would reach out. Losing the NFC Championship Game is nothing like losing a life or suffering a traumatic injury. However, to my family, a win would have been life-changing. It hit me, maybe people don't know what to do when these situations happen? What do you say? What can you do for someone like me? Obviously, no one needs to organize a meal train or send over flowers for a loss of a football game. It's not like someone died. Maybe people want to know how to show thoughtfulness during these sticky situations.
Immediately after that dreadful game I received texts from my 3 besties who live in CA. Simple texts but they really meant the world to me:
1. I'm so sorry. We were hoping for a win!! Thinking of you.
2. I'm so sorry I have no words!
3. I'm sorry!! I love you.
Here are some texts that I appreciated just as well:
1. Fuck. Sorry.
2. I know nothing will make you feel better right now. It sucks!!
3. Everything happens for a reason. But this one I can't figure out.
Let's call a spade a spade - my team showed up for a championship game but played like it was a Pop Warner game. However, this post is NOT about football. It's about what to say when someone loses something they really wanted. (For what to say when someone is dealing with death please refer to this post). Events could be for an example, a gymnastic competition - just a tenth of a point away from making it to the next level to get to the Olympics. Or the job promotion that could have helped a family move to a better neighborhood in a better school district. Or getting the part in a play that would have catapulted their acting career. These are big, significant opportunities that were lost by someone you know and care about. You don't have to reinvent the wheel or send over a singing telegram. A text or call make a big difference. My friend left me a voicemail after we lost the game. Her voice and her words were so comforting that I feel like I will listen to that voicemail whenever I need a lift. Let's say you watched the audition and your loved one totally bombed it, you still have to acknowledge the elephant in the room. Don't lie and say, "You were great!" Or "You did your best!" when it's obvious that they didn't do their best. Just say, " You didn't get the part (or promotion or advance in gymnastics). It sucks but I care about you. "
I think it's very normal and typical for people to avoid the stickiness of what life is about. It's very thoughtful to reach out to someone when times are good and it is very easy to do. Maybe many people still follow their mother's rule, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." But when times are low, the bottom line is: you still care about that person. No one is expecting nice, they're expecting ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. An easy way to show thoughtfulness is with a text. THANK GOD FOR EMOJIs!! You don't even have to say you're sad or mad - just pick the emoji that best describes what you're feeling and hit send. Viola! No words or extra effort is required because the emoji says it all. Is it the easy way out? Sending nothing is worse. Could our society be in danger of only using emojis when we communicate? Perhaps, but in some weird way emojis get people to actually feel something. We are identifying feelings. You feel like a piece of poop, there's a poop emoji. You think we played like poop, the same emoji can be used. You want the Eagle fans to eat poop - well, you get my drift. No matter what you are feeling, emojis help communicate. Guys are less likely to cry but sending the crying emoji when they are sad, shows that he feels sad. I bet if more guys actually started crying these days, no one would think twice about it because, thanks to the emoji, our next generation knows all about feelings. I need to find an emoji that emulates thoughtfulness. I'm sure we can find one since we found one for the Skol Chant.
So the next time you think you don't want to "poke the bear" or you're thinking, "I can't even send my friend a text after that horrible performance." Think instead about the void you are sending by not. Don't leave us hanging wondering "Where are all my peeps?" A voicemail, call or a text (with or without an emoji) is a thoughtful pinch that takes a minute but matters for days.