It can be difficult to find the right words of sympathy to express sympathy during a time of loss. We often search for the most appropriate words that will help another. Comforting a grieving friend with a sympathy card or a heart to heart can be easier than you think. People are often thankful with the feeling that you care to take the time to try and comfort them while others can seem to avoid the topic altogether. In expressing your sympathy you might be worried about saying the wrong thing, saying something that upsets them, or simply sounding artificial.
Just being there for your friend can help them so much. Ask if they need company, or someone to stay the night. Make lunch dates with them to get them out and help them talk about their loss. Providing your company, words of sympathy and listening can comfort your friend after a funeral. If you wait too long because you are afraid of saying the wrong thing you will probably end up not doing anything at all, which is worse than trying something. The more you care about your grieving friend, the harder it may seem to do right by them. Unfortunately, you cannot take their pain away. Anything less may seem silly to you right now, but for your friend it can mean the world. There are many things you can do to help a friend in a time of loss.
It is important to talk with someone in grief. It is common to feel overwhelmed, helpless, uncertain, or awkward. Chances are your grieving friend feels the same way. You might feel that there isn’t much you can do to make your friend in grief feel better, but just talking with them can comfort them. They will remember you were there for them during this tough time and it will help you bond together. Begin by letting your friend know that you care. Having your support can help in so many ways. You do not have to give advice or have answers. You just need to be supportive and be able to listen. Understand that grief brings on strong emotions and there is no right way to grieve. Be genuine when talking with your grieving friend. Using words like died can help your friend feel more open to you because you feel comfortable using that word. Let your friend know that you are truly sorry that this has happened. You could even say, “I am not sure what to say right now, but I want you to know that I care about you. You can talk to me”. Ask your friend how you can help; what can you do for them that will help in this time? Allow your friend to cry, yell, break down, or get angry. These are normal feelings during grief and are part of the grieving process. Just be there for your friend. Offer your shoulder to cry on. Your friend needs your support and comfort, not judgment or criticism. If you can’t think of anything to say then just offer a smile or a hug. Sitting in silence is ok.