How To Help A Friend Who Is Grieving

Two women hugging

“Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay, but acknowledging that it is not.” Unknown

A common response when a friend experiences a devastating loss is to have no idea what to do. What should you say? What can you do to make them feel better? How can you make it go away?

Reality is, there is nothing someone else can do to take away grief. We can help our friends through the grieving process, but we cannot make it disappear. And we shouldn’t try. Grief is healing. So, how can we help? Here are a few things to keep in mind to benefit your friend.

  1. Remember, you cannot eliminate the pain. So best not to try by saying or doing things that may be construed in a way you don’t mean.
  2. Presence counts. Just being there, available and willing to listen is an invaluable gift.
  3. Be flexible and understanding about they way they choose to grieve. It may not be the way you think they should behave or the way you would, but this is their grief to endure. Do keep a close eye to make sure they are not doing harm by not caring for themselves.
  4. Listen, don’t talk. We often find ourselves not knowing what to say. Maybe the best idea is to let them do the talking.

Just the fact that you care about their loss will mean a great deal. Relating that sentiment to them in your own way will surely bring comfort as they grieve.