5 Ways To Be A Friend During Grief
We have all seen our friends suffering over a loss, and we feel helpless watching and not to knowing what to say or do. There is no “right” or “perfect” way to be of help. You can’t undo the loss, return the person to life or health, or repair the damage. You cannot even take away the pain that accompanies loss. But you can, by your words and presence, reassure your friend of caring and support as she or he goes forward.
As much as our hearts ache, we often feel awkward. What should I say? Not say? What if I say the wrong thing? Here are 5 tips to help you to be comforting during a time of grief and sadness.
1. People who are grieving don’t always remember everything that happens but they do remember basic acts of kindness – a casserole, a visit, a text, an errand taken care of, phone calls made on their behalf, babysitting or dog walking. Simple, kind and useful.
2. It is okay to simply say, “I’m sorry” or “I’m sad” or “I’ll be here for you” or say nothing. Less is more. It is better to stay away from long stories or compassion in the form of, “I know what you are going through” (maybe you do and maybe you don’t).
3. Take your cues from your friend who is grieving – does she want you to talk, be quiet, listen, stay, go, or wash the dishes.
4. Go easy on giving advice unless you are asked. Stay away from “It will go away”, “You’ll get over it” types of statements – these comments feel like you are minimizing the loss.
5. Gently stay in touch. A minute call or voice mail that says, “I’m thinking about you,” might be all that is needed. But STAY in touch, don’t abandon them now.
Primarily, you are letting your friend know that she is not completely alone and that WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.