We never want to see our friends struggle, but when a friend loses someone it can be difficult to know what to do and say. You don’t want to offend the person, but the grieving process can be a difficult path to navigate. What if you say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing? Is it better to not say anything at all? It’s difficult to find the right words sometimes, but you want to be there for your friend. If you are looking for a guide to helping your grieving friend through the bereavement process, look no further.
What Not to Say to a Grieving Friend
When you are approaching or conversing with a friend who recently lost someone close to them, you might struggle with what to say. Contrary to what people believe, there are wrong things to say to someone that just lost someone. For example, don’t express the sentiment that they lived a long life or that they are in a better place. It’s also unwise to mention that the person brought the death on themselves due to destructive behaviors. Justifying the death does not help your grieving friend. In fact, it can actually make them feel worse.
It’s also wise to never compare your grief. If your friend lost a parent and you recently lost one as well, do not tell them that you know how they feel. Greif is an individual process and you don’t know exactly how they are feeling. The grieving process can bring up extremely intense and submerged feelings.
Another thing to keep in mind is that grief has no timeline. Never ask someone if they’re over a loss yet. No matter how much time has passed, your friend has every right to still be grieving. Insinuating that they should be over the loss or done grieving is detrimental to their emotional healing.
What to Say to a Grieving Friend
If you want to truly be there for your grieving friend mention that you are sorry for their loss. It’s okay to also admit that you don’t have all the right words to say. Just expressing your condolences and acknowledging their loss is important. It opens up the conversation for them to lean on you if they choose. By ignoring the elephant in the room in an attempt to avoid saying the wrong thing, you may make the person feel as if you don’t care or that you think their loss isn’t important enough to acknowledge.
Another way to offer support is to let them know that you are there to listen. Mention that you are always available to talk, that you’re just a phone call away, or that you’ll be there if they need anything. And if you mention that support, be sure you follow through on it.
What to Do: Offering Comfort and Support
One of the best ways to help someone through the grieving process is to be there for them. Offer your support and mean it. If they need someone to listen, be an open ear. If they need someone to lean on, give them a shoulder to cry on. If they are struggling to keep up with the yardwork in the wake of their grief, offer to help out. Being there for someone after a loss isn’t as difficult as we make it out to be. Just showing up for our grieving friends is half the battle.
Sending a Sympathy Gift
Another way to lend comfort and support in the wake of a loss is to send your friend a sympathy gift. Something as simple as sympathy flowers or a condolence note will do, but if you want to do more, you can send a sympathy care package or other condolence gifts. There are many options to choose from at The Comfort Company. From memorial trees and memorial benches to windchimes and jewelry, we have options well suited for everyone.