DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is the proper way to offer kindness and condolences to someone who has experienced a tragedy as the result of their own poor choices (e.g. legal troubles, reckless motor accident, etc.)?
I realize this is no time for a lecture, and I do not want to give one -- I simply want to offer kindness and help. But it seems trite to say “I’m so sorry X happened” when X was obviously a result of the person’s own lack of forethought or good judgment. However, it seems borderline delusional to just ignore it.
GENTLE READER: The proper way to offer kindness and condolences -- without giving a lecture, which would almost certainly be unwelcome -- is to do so.
You know that the person made poor choices. Given the results, he likely knows he made poor choices. Miss Manners now knows he made poor choices. The only delusion would be in thinking that one cannot be aware of something without being bound to give voice to it at every opportunity.