How to Comfort Someone Who is Grieving
Grief and death are inevitable in this life but oftentimes people may feel at a loss to know how to comfort a bereaved friend. They may be tempted to pull away from the grieving individual because they don’t know what to say. Although each person deals with loss differently, here are a few tips to help you support a friend through grief.
What you'll need:
An understanding attitude
A listening ear
E-mail, a telephone, or other means of communication
Send a card, flowers, an e-mail or whatever else may be of encouragement to your friend. Send money to help with funeral expenses if you know this would be helpful. Keep in contact regularly in the months to come, too. Send a text message, leave a voicemail, or call just to say “hello.”
Try to anticipate your friend’s needs. He or she may not be able to articulate them so you’ll need to be perceptive.
Be there for your friend to hug them, cry with them, and reminisce. Listen and be supportive. Ask questions. Give them permission to grieve in front of you.
Continue to invite your friend to events and gatherings as usual. Let them decide if they feel up to it.
Be mindful of birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and other occasions that may be particularly difficult for your friend. Grief can feel very isolating and he or she will need to know they are not forgotten.
Be patient with your friend. Each person grieves differently and some may work through their grief more quickly than others.
Don’t worry about what to say. Many times, a grieving individual just needs to know that you are there for them. Simply saying “I’m sorry” may be enough.
Grief can be unpredictable and irrational. Remain supportive of your friend even when you don’t understand their emotions.
Recognise that your friend may grieve differently from you and allow them to make mistakes.
Avoid platitudes and easy answers. This merely invalidates one’s grief.
Don’t judge your friend or tell them how they should feel.
Don’t tell your friend not to cry or act uncomfortable when they express emotion.
Don’t assume that because your friend is having a good day that he or she is over the loss. Grief comes in waves.