How to Give Condolences


Giving condolences is one of the hardest tasks we face. But it is important to express your sympathy to family, friends or colleagues who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Mourners often may feel isolated, and hearing from others is often comforting. When your express your condolences -- whether in person or in a note -- be brief and sincere.

Things You'll Need

  • Time to spend with them
  • A card, note
  • Acknowledge the loss directly, by saying or writing that you are sorry to hear that the loved one has died.

  • If you knew the deceased, share a brief story about your relationship or what you valued about the person.

  • If you want to offer help, be specific about what you can do, such as cooking a meal, baby-sitting or helping with housework.

  • Avoid cliches such as "I know how you feel" or "He's at peace." Such sentiments often do not help the grieving person.

Tips & Warnings

  • A plant or flowers after the funeral for your friend is a nice touch. Something living after all the hoopla is a nice pick me up.
  • If people ask for donation in lieu of flowers, it is nice to honor their wishes.
  • It is never too late to show love and compassion. Don't be too prosaic or long winded in your message--- written or verbal. Saying "I am so sorry for your loss" and "I am thinking of you" goes a long way.

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