Are People Avoiding Me?
Grief can be a very lonely time. Yet it is a time when the comfort of another can provide such solace. However, our society has miseducated us about loss and many of us may feel that someone who is grieving wants to be alone. Or, in many cases, we have a fear of saying the wrong thing that can lead to more emotional pain. So we just avoid talking to friends or family members who are grieving.
It is true that cliche remarks can often be misconstrued by someone who is grieving and they also may seek time alone to reflect and deal with their loss. But many people do notice that friends who know about the loss shy away, either not approaching them or not directly discussing the loss.
The fear is on both sides. For those who grieve, they are facing so many fears - being alone, thinking how will they go on without their loved one or will they ever be okay? For friends, the fear is saying or doing something to cause more pain. But worse than fear is isolation, which is the behavioral reaction to fear.
Studies show that grievers most want and need to talk about their loss and their relationship with the one who was lost. Rather than avoiding the subject, it is best to at least acknowledge it - "I am so sorry to hear about your loss." This direct and kind approach can open the door to the griever and allow him/her to walk through on their own terms.