Here’s How To Help A Grieving Friend (And Here’s What Not To Say)

Grief is something everyone experiences at some point or another.

And when someone we love is grieving, our natural indication is to say something (anything) to make them feel better.

But often times when we try to help, we end up hurting by saying the wrong thing.

Even though many of us are well-intended – our words can sometimes be an added sting to someone who is grieving.

Saying things like “your mom is in a better place” doesn’t always help the grieving daughter who just lost her best friend (her mom).

Even if the mom was Christian and she is in heaven… often times when we lose people we love we want them here – which is a natural part of the grieving process.

So if you are looking for what to say to a loved one who is grieving (and sometimes more importantly what not to say), check out our trips below:

  1. Simply Say “I’m Sorry For Your Loss”: Grief can be a confusing thing – especially if it comes as a surprise out of the blue.

Instead of trying to rationalize it – simply tell the person “I’m sorry for your pain.”

Acknowledging their grief and their pain goes a long way.

Resist the urge to say “I went through the same thing I know how you feel” – because you don’t know how they feel.

Each person is unique and grieves differently.

Dismissing their pain is not helpful to the grieving person.

However, letting them know you are sorry for their loss and are only a phone call away gives them space and time.

Maybe they’ll want to talk that night, and maybe they won’t want to talk for weeks.

But you’ve let them know you’re available.

  1. Avoid Placing Blame: One of the worst things you can say to a grieving person is “well, their lifestyle choices caused this” or “they brought this upon themselves.”

Death still stings – whether the person who died was a choir boy or an addict.

And the last thing your grieving friend needs is someone judging their loved ones!

Grief.com lists other hurtful things people can say to someone who is grieving which include:

  • At least she lived a long life, many people die young
  • He is in a better place
  • She brought this on herself
  • There is a reason for everything
  • Aren’t you over him yet, he has been dead for awhile now
  • You can have another child still
  • She was such a good person God wanted her to be with him
  • I know how you feel
  • She did what she came here to do and it was her time to go
  • Be strong

Look these over. Memorize them. And don’t say them!

  1. Just Listen And Sit With Them: Often times, the best thing we can do to comfort our grieving friend is to simply be there for them.

By listening to them talk, laugh, or cry about their loved ones, we can be a key part of their healing process.

Some days, they’ll reminisce and tell stories about the good times they had with their loved one, other times they’ll simply sob and weep.

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Listening to them and sitting with them in their pain (without trying to fix them) will show them you are a sound and safe person to grieve with.

Grieving affects each person differently – and the best thing we can do for those who are hurting is let them know we love them and we care – and that we are there for them when they are ready.

You don’t have to be a trained counselor to simply listen and show compassion for a friend who is mourning the loss of a loved one.

Just be sure to remember to be careful what you say – as sometimes well-intended words of comfort can cause more pain.

Have you ever helped a friend grieve a significant loss in their life?

In your moments of grief, what are some phrases you found to be both helpful and hurtful?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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