What to say to someone who is grieving?

No one is naturally prepared to say or do something when they are faced with a grieving person that is close to them. Many people are afraid that they will be misunderstood or that they will say something wrong and make their loved ones feel worse. Of course, many people also feel that they are not able to do much to offer comfort. In fact, you are doing yourself an injustice because each of us can provide support and comfort in times like this.


Without doubt, death is a difficult experience for everyone close to the deceased. Guilt, anger, depression – these are just some of the emotions that people feel when they’ve lost someone they loved. In some cases, people choose to stay isolated and go through this process alone, but most counsellors would agree that every individual needs support. In light of this, you should never avoid a grieving person because you feel uncomfortable. This is the moment when they need your support the most. To reiterate, it is very likely that you might be confused about the things you need to say or the things that you might do, but that’s normal. Just being there is a clear sign of support and it will mean a lot to the person who is grieving.

It’s quite natural to feel uncomfortable and awkward when you are trying to provide support to a grieving person. There is no universal guide that can help you find the right words, but there are some general rules that you can follow. To start with, say that you are sorry about their loss and express your concern. Follow your ordinary way of communication and don’t put your emotions away.

Let them know that you are not sure what you want to say, but tell them that you care. In a situation like this, it is also crucial to provide your support.   In addition, don’t forget to ask them how they feel and don’t say that you know how they feel because you don’t. We all grieve differently and if you say something like this then it sounds a little bit glib and insensitive. At times like this, offering practical support can bring a lot of comfort. Helping with proceedings before and after the funeral can go a long way to showing how much you care. Remember that giving comfort can often be demonstrated in your actions rather than your words.