When it comes to offering words of sympathy, even close friends are at a loss for words. You may be wondering if you should say something.
You might be worried about saying the wrong thing or coming across as insincere.
It’s a fast way to get up to speed and/or refresh your memory.
Some common phrases that are meant to be encouraging such as, “Time will heal all wounds” can be hurtful and undermine the feelings of grief. There are better ways to offer encouraging words and also ways to inspire hope in a dismal circumstance.
You Don’t Need to Say Much
Perhaps the most important role you can play in supporting a hurting loved one is to simply lend a listening ear. Empathetic listening is a valuable skill that anybody can easily learn. Becoming a more understanding and empathetic listener will benefit all of your relationships, but there is no other time that it is more appreciated than now. When a loved one is grieving they can be helped tremendously by the simple act of empathetic listening. Find out how sympathy and empathy go together to comfort grieving individuals.
Finding the Right Words to Express Sympathy
• “I am so sorry for your loss.”
• “I’ll be right here, if you need a listening ear.”
• “Could I help you…” (Make a specific offer)
• “Our family will miss (Donna) so much.”
• One of my favorite memories of (Jim) is…”
• “I remember when I first met (Julie) she was so…”
• “I’ve always enjoyed the way (Tom) always…”
When searching for what to say to a grieving loved one it helps to keep in mind that all they may want is acknowledgement of their loss and kind gestures. A simple “I am sorry for your loss” may be all that is needed. Sometimes a hug is just right or offering help of some kind. Statements that validate the mourner’s feelings and encourage sharing are helpful.
Words of Comfort for a Grieving Friend or Family Member
Sometimes it’s easier to comfort someone you know well. You probably know what kinds of things they find helpful and you can offer support just by being present. However, you may wondering what you should say and you may be worried about saying the wrong thing. Here are some ideas for offering words of sympathy to close friends and family members.