Grieving Etiquette

Tips on what to say when someone you care about is grieving

Posted by Liz Taylor Aug 30, 2013

It’s often hard to know what to say or do when someone you care about is grieving.You can show interest and concern, express encouragement, or offer support. Sometimes the simplest expressions of concern are the most meaningful. And sometimes just listening is the most helpful thing you can do.

When you aren’t sure what to say, respond from your heart. Here are some ideas:

  • Acknowledge the situation. Example: "I heard that your_____ died." Use the word "died" That will show that you are more open to talk about how the person really feels.
  • Express your concern. Example: "I'm sorry to hear that you are going through this."
  • Be genuine in your communication and don't hide your feelings. Example: "I’m not sure what to say, but I want you to know I care. If you want to talk about it, I’m here."
  • Offer your support. Example: "Tell me what I can do for you."
  • Ask how he or she feels, and don't assume you know how the person feels on any given day.

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