What Would You Say To A Friend Who Has Lost Someone?
If you're not careful, your well-meaning condolences can make you sound like an insensitive human being.
Expressing condolences either in writing or in person can be tricky. When a person dies it is difficult to know what to say to the bereaved. You want to show your empathy without sounding patronizing to the bereaved. Also, it is important to acknowledge the loss in one form or another. We've put together some tips to help you understand better how to express condolences.
How To Express Condolences: What To Say To Express Sympathy
It is a good idea to name the person who died. If you know this person, describe something you loved about him or her. Share a fond memory if you have one. If you don’t know the person, express sadness that you never got to meet him or her or acknowledge the importance of this person to your friend.
How to express condolences in person:
You could follow this sequence below:
- I'm so sorry to hear about your loss.
- I was heartbroken by this sad news.
- I'll never forget when he/she… (share a memory using the past tense verb)
- You were such a dedicated friend/mother/sister to ______________ (name).
- He/She will be sadly missed. (Add a detail that describes this person’s best quality. For example, He was the best listener. OR He was always there when I needed help with the kids.)
- I’m sorry, but I am at a loss for words. (If you can’t think of anything else to say or write.)
- If you need anything, please ask. (Then offer something specific, such as help with the kids or a home-cooked meal or a coffee date.)
- When you are feeling up to it, let’s have coffee together.
- I’m here for you if you need anything.
- Thanks for taking the time to let me know about _________ (name of deceased). (Write or say if you received a special call or email notification about this news.)
Expressing condolences in writing:
You can use many of the same expressions in a sympathy note or card.
- Please accept my/our sincere condolences.
- I would like to express my sincere condolences on the death of __________. (name) He/She was __________. (describe this person in a word or two)
- I’m sorry I could not convey my condolences in person. (If you are far away from a friend. You can use this in a phone call too.)
Words to go with a sympathy gift or donation
Please accept these flowers from our family.
I have made a donation to _____________ (charity or organization) in ________________ (name’s) honour.
As per your request, we have donated _________ in place of flowers.
Closing your Condolence note or card
- Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.
- Wishing you peace as you grieve this loss.
Expressing Condolences via Social Media Networks
It is okay to express your condolences in a comment if the announcement has been made in a status update or blog. Take a moment to send a private note as well.
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