“Hang in there”

Why do people say “hang in there” when someone shares that they are struggling?
To me, this is the worst answer one can give.

If someone is really unhappy in a situation, confides to a friend that it is eating them up internally but that they haven’t managed to find a solution that would sustain them – the last thing that they want to hear is “hang in there”.

This is like acknowledging that someone is on the sea, almost drowning, their energy is fading but still has a little panel to lay on. The panel is full of spikes or nails. There is no space to move, and if the person still moves, the spikes will hurt but, yet, hanging on to the board keeps you alive.

How dare someone on land say: “hang in there” and not lend a helping hand? Just smiling and saying: “you are still alive, and your board is not rotten yet, your wounds will heal one day – just hang in there”.

It would be much wiser to say to the suffering person: “I am sorry”, or even better: “Hang in there, I will do what I can to help you as quickly as I can”.

“Hang in there” is meant to give another person hope, but if there is no action that follows, not even a promise to act – why would anybody trust in a person who says it and walks away?

In Psalm 32:8 it says: “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” When people say “Hang in there” without offering a lending hand nor giving hope, our trust can turn to God who is our refuge – no matter how far out in the sea we are…