Help­ing a friend through a cri­sis? It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. TRACY RAMS­DEN de­codes some of the most overused clichés.

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This year, I found my­self un­ex­pect­edly thrown into the role of Chief Friend, sup­port­ing my mates through var­i­ous trau­mas – break-ups, cheat­ing boyfriends. and sick par­ents. I learnt bag­ging the Os­car for Best Sup­port­ing Role is no mean feat.

Af­ter the 100th time hear­ing my­self ut­ter the heart­felt but some­how flimsy-sound­ing cliché “things will get bet­ter with time”, I de­cided there must be a way to be a bet­ter friend with­out sound­ing like an old-school agony aunt. “A cliché can lack im­pact and come across as cold and un­car­ing,” ex­plains life coach Jayne Mor­ris. “If you

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