What to say to a Manchester United Fan

Manchester United lost their game last night.

This is the team that EJ calls ‘family’, and one that he is a diehard, get-on-your-knees-and-pray-at-the-89th-minute type of fan.

Manchester United haven’t had a good season in a while, and their recent loss means they are out of the Champions League – which is a big deal, apparently.

I’ve played sports for my school, and recreationally. But I don’t come close to understanding what this kind of loss feels like, and I don’t know how to comfort EJ, who is downcast, muttering to himself, shaking his head, not eating well, can’t concentrate on his work… basically, the symptoms of mild depression.

So, attempting to be more empathetic, I asked him what a person should say, or shouldn’t say to him, in moments like these. Here’s his suggestions.

Do NOT say…

“They will do better next time.”

“They’re still in the top 5.”

and especially do NOT say… “It’s good that you didn’t stay up to watch the game until 4am then.”

DO say…

“What do you think went wrong?”

“What can they do better next time?”

This gives him the chance to air his grievances, and also show his analytical skills and knowledge of the game and the players. And talking it out makes it seem like there are things that can be done about the situation, and satisfies his need to be a problem solver.

But, if everything else fails to bring him out of depression, a heavy dose of silence while watching Youtube videos of Manchester United’s best goals might do the trick!

 

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