To ask or not to ask

The other day, a friend and I were discussing how one should approach a friend who has recently experienced a death of someone close (gee, I wonder who we were referencing during this). My friend, who has also experienced a number of deaths last summer (it was seriously the Summer of Death for both of us), said that oftentimes, because death is not a comfortable topic, people tend to veer away from it because they are scared of offending those who grieve. So we should forgive them and not take it personally. I said that I acknowledge it’s uncomfortable; obviously no one wants to deal with or talk about it, especially those who are experiencing it. But in the best case scenario, one who truly loves and cares about you will ask you how you are doing in that respect. If the grieving person chooses not to share, fine, but at least give him a choice to share. Hesitantly, he agreed I was right.

It also reminded me of a video I recently watched about how people conduct themselves around others and the types of relationships they choose or choose not to form. Perhaps the reason that those who choose not to ask because they say they are fearful of offending are really just scared about how they themselves will react to such raw, deep, and real feelings. Oftentimes in today’s fast-paced world, we form “friendships” with others in which all we do is talk about what we are doing and when we are doing it. Feelings and vulnerable thoughts aren’t shared because that seems like too much, too frightening. Do I really want to know this person on that level? How will what I learn about this person affect me?

Maybe what we all need is to expose ourselves just a little more, and be just a little bit more vulnerable. We’d be more real human beings then, and maybe we could attain just a fraction of the genuineness Ed had (that apparently intimidated a lot of people).

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