Grief Etiquette 101

by Jill Francis on September 20th, 2018

What to Say When Someone's Hurting

Some of us have no idea what to say when someone we know loses someone they love.  Some of us think we know, but in reality, what we say does more harm than good.  Others believe that by imparting their “wisdom”, they will be comforting the hurting, when in fact, they do more damage. 
If you’re never sure what to say, here’s a list.  If you think you’re great at comforting the hurting, then review this list and make sure what you’re saying is on it:
  • I am so sorry
  • I am profoundly sorry
  • This sucks
  • I can’t imagine how you feel (even if you can, don’t offer your feelings, this isn’t about you)
  • This must really hurt
  • This must be really hard
  • May I sit with you?
  • May I call you tomorrow (next week, etc)?
  • May I visit you next week?
  • May I walk your dog for you?  Clean your house?  Babysit your children? Pick up your dry cleaning? Change the lightbulb? (Find a chore that needs to be done and offer to do it.  Then, follow through and do it!)
  • May I put this ice cream in your freezer or would you like a bowl of it now?  (If the person has a favorite treat, make it available.  They may not want it now, but it may bring comfort later)

Stick to the list or add to it if you have something similar to say.  And if you offer to call or visit, then set an alarm and do it!

Silence and a big hug are much better for those who are hurting, than saying something “full of wisdom” that just makes them want to punch you in the face (I’ve been there, yes, that’s how we feel).

Stay tuned for the list of “What Not to Say”.

Posted in not categorized    Tagged with grief, What to Say, When Words Fail


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