How to Give Condolences

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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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