Choosing Your Words: What to Say to Someone Who is Grieving

When a friend has lost a loved one, it’s natural to want to reach out with comforting words. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s hard to know what to say to someone who has suffered a loss. This often makes people avoid saying anything, which is a mistake. People need human contact when they’re grieving, so it’s better to speak up while adhering to some simple do’s and don’ts.

  • Don’t resort to platitudes. Saying things such as “It was his time” or “He’s in a better place” may seem comforting. In reality, they can make the person feel worse.
  • Don’t say things that minimize the loss. Sometimes, it’s tempting to try to relate to someone by saying “I know how you feel” or relaying a story from your own life. Unfortunately, this can make a grieving person feel as though you’re dismissing their pain.
  • Do say “I’m sorry.” Often, the simplest thing to say is best. Telling a person you’re sorry for their loss expresses what you really feel without telling the grieving person how he or she should feel.
  • Be honest if you don’t know what to say. It’s perfectly acceptable to tell your friend that you’re at a loss for words. No one expects you to have all the answers, and admitting that you don’t gives your friend a chance to open up.
  • Spend more time listening than talking. A sympathetic listener can be more valuable to a grieving person than someone with excellent advice. Encourage your friend to talk to you, whether that means expressing grief or sharing happy memories.
  • Take action and do something to help. The phrase “actions speak louder than words” certainly applies in times of mourning. Look for ways to help, whether it’s bringing a meal, running an errand or just calling to check on your friend.

At Greenwood, we’ve served the community with grace for more than a century, building a reputation for excellence. We care about the families we serve and are dedicated to serving people of all cultures and faiths. At our full-service facility, we offer the convenience of funeral, cemetery and cremation services in one location, and help to provide memorial services that honor each person’s unique life and help families to heal. To learn about all we have to offer, call (619) 241-4312, stop by or visit our website.

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