Are you concerned about a friend or loved one who is struggling with debt? While you may want to offer support and advice, it’s important to approach the conversation with care and sensitivity. The way you communicate can have a significant impact on their emotional well-being, and the last thing you want is to make the situation worse.
Statements to avoid:
Let’s explore some common statements that you should avoid when talking to someone about their debt.
Here are some examples of statements that you should avoid saying to someone who is struggling with debt:
“You should have known better than to get yourself into this mess.”
“Why don’t you just get a better job or work harder to make more money?”
“I can’t believe you’re still in debt. You must be terrible with money.”
“Have you tried borrowing money from family or friends?”
“You’re always complaining about your debt. Can’t you just suck it up and deal with it?”
“I don’t understand how you could let things get this bad. It’s really irresponsible.”
“You should just declare bankruptcy and start over.”
“I don’t want to hear about your money problems anymore. It’s getting old.”
“Maybe if you stopped spending money on frivolous things, you wouldn’t be in debt.”
“I’m not going to loan you money because I don’t trust that you’ll pay me back.”
Mental Health Consequences
Studies have shown that financial stress and debt can have a significant negative impact on a person’s mental health and overall well-being. Comments or attitudes that are judgmental or dismissive can exacerbate these negative feelings and create a sense of shame or isolation for the person struggling.
For example, a 2019 study published in the Journal of Financial Therapy found that people who perceived higher levels of financial stress were more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety. Similarly, a 2016 study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior found that financial strain was associated with a greater risk of poor mental health and overall well-being.
Comments such as “you should have known better” or “you’re irresponsible” can contribute to feelings of shame and self-blame, and may make the person less likely to seek out support or resources for managing their debt. On the other hand, compassionate and non-judgmental support can help individuals feel more empowered and motivated to take action towards improving their financial situation. So, it’s important to approach these conversations with sensitivity and empathy. By avoiding judgment and offering support and resources, we can help create a safer and more supportive environment for those who are struggling
Here are alternative statements (insert link to blog 21 ) that can help show your support and offer valuable resources for managing debt so you can approach the conversation with empathy and compassion, and help your friend or loved one take steps towards financial stability.