I'm too verbose to say it with flowers alone...
August 30, 2006 7:14 AM   Subscribe

Help me find the perfect quote to send with flowers to a friend who's down.

A close friend of mine is having ongoing marital problems. Though she's doing everything she can to manage the situation she's getting depressed about it — and she's the kind of super practical, competent person who takes everything in stride and normally doesn't get depressed. I thought, in lieu of anything actually useful to do to help her (besides the whole listening and offering insight thing), I'd like to at least maybe make her feel momentarily better by sending her some of her favourite daisies.

What should I put on the card? I'd prefer to use someone else's words because I'm out of advice. I don't want anything too sentimental (because neither of us are the mushy type and she would think I'd lost my senses) or flowery (because that's what's the daisies are for). It shouldn't be the sort of facile "don't worry, things will be okay, just hang in there" response that always irritates the hell out of me when I've having problems.

So, what's your favourite comforting and encouraging quote for when you're profoundly frustrated and discouraged?
posted by orange swan to Writing & Language (21 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” -- Ernest Hemingway
posted by jeffmshaw at 7:31 AM on August 30, 2006

I am here for you, always.
posted by caddis at 7:50 AM on August 30, 2006

This may seem sort of morose, but I've always found it very comforting in an odd way:

"I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair and all the terrible things that happen to us came because we actually deserved them? So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe." -J. Michael Straczynski
posted by Amy Phillips at 7:52 AM on August 30, 2006 [5 favorites]

Caveat: I'm not a big fan of the Bartlett's approach to offering support, which is why I'd default to something like:

"I was going to put something flowery and mushy here, but...naw. I am proud to have you as a friend, and I will always be here to help and lean on for you. May these troubles pass quickly."

Tweak and spindle and get to your own voice; in my experience, that helps the recipient that much more.
posted by Drastic at 8:03 AM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

"If you're going through hell, keep going." Winston Churchill

"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." M. Kathleen Casey

or try humor, one of my favorites:
"You can't have everything. Where would you put it?" Steven Wright
posted by LoriFLA at 8:38 AM on August 30, 2006

Is she a nerd at all? If so, I'd go with "Roses are red, violets are blue, All my base are belong to you"
posted by radioamy at 8:48 AM on August 30, 2006

I know the most practical of people often have a DEEPLY hidden side of them that would embrace the following quote:

"In the end, we're all made of stars."
posted by Chorus at 9:05 AM on August 30, 2006

"It has not yet been recorded that any human being has gained a very large or permanent contentment from meditation upon the fact that he is better off than others."

Sinclair Lewis, Main Street
posted by scratch at 9:22 AM on August 30, 2006

It's maybe a little cliche, but from Leonard Cohen:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
Thats how the light gets in

posted by EarBucket at 9:27 AM on August 30, 2006 [3 favorites]

I love that Winston Churchill quote.

Or, possible alterative tack: How about just a silly joke that will make her laugh whenever she reads and re-reads the card? (Eg: Where do generals put their armies? In their sleevies. // What do you call a cross between a rhinoceros and an elephant? 'Ellifino. // Bacon and eggs walk into the diner, but the waitress says "you'll have to leave, we don't serve breakfast after 11". That kind of thing)

Barring that, I would just say, "I'm with you."
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:38 AM on August 30, 2006

That which gives light must endure burning.
posted by parmanparman at 9:53 AM on August 30, 2006

No rain, no rainbows.
posted by mrleec at 9:55 AM on August 30, 2006

Color rainbows in the rain
And follow to a heart of gold
There's a saviour born every day
In the valley of your soul.

(From Saviour Child by Sophie B. Hawkins)
posted by effigy at 10:31 AM on August 30, 2006

(Don't let the bastards get you down)
posted by einekleine at 10:41 AM on August 30, 2006

The four most beautiful words in the English language: This too shall pass.

Or maybe one of these?

A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner. -- English proverb

Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute. What you can do, or think you can, begin it. -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

When you get to the end of all the light you know, it's time to step into the darkness of the unknown. Faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly. -- Edward Teller

A day dawns, quite like other days; in it, a single hour comes, quite like other hours; but in that day and in that hour the chance of a lifetime faces us. -- Maltbie Babcock

The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials. -- Chinese proverb

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. -- William Morrow

This one is probably too long, but great nonetheless:

I will not die an unlived life
I will not live in fear of falling
Or of catching fire
I choose to inhabit my days
To allow my living to open me
Making me less afraid
More accessible
To loosen my heart
So that it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise
I choose to risk my significance
To live so that that which comes to me as seed
Goes to the next as blossom
And that which comes to me as blossom
Goes on as fruit
--Dawna Markova
posted by widdershins at 10:55 AM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

Being in somewhat of the same situation as your friend, I think I might like to hear something that would remind me of a funny inside joke between us, or maybe just a funny quote from my favorite movie - anything to make me laugh.
posted by geeky at 12:31 PM on August 30, 2006

This one is a favorite of mine "In the depth of winter I found in myself an invincible summer." - Camus
posted by hollygoheavy at 4:21 PM on August 30, 2006

Some great quotes above, but an added thought: Since daisy in Spanish is margarita, why not include a handmade gift certificate redeemable for a pitcher of "lime-aid"?
posted by rob511 at 8:09 PM on August 30, 2006

I agree with geeky. I think I'd rather have something heartfelt than a quote. but you are a nice friend regardless.
posted by clairezulkey at 11:30 AM on August 31, 2006

Response by poster: None of these quotes were quite right, but in the event it actually didn't matter because it turned out I had a 100 character limit for the note! So, I simply wrote something along the lines of:

"You've been having a hard time, and since I can't think of anything helpful to do, I decided to be lame. HAVE A SUPER DAY!!!"

She loved the flowers, but didn't say anything about the note;-)
posted by orange swan at 3:21 PM on September 17, 2006

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