There are no rules or set templates that you can use to speak with a friend who has lost a loved one. However, keeping the communication channel open is necessary. And that does require you to step up, and be compassionate in your conversation. Here are some tips when you’re trying to venture into this difficult space.

How to Speak With a Friend Who Has Lost A Loved One

Do’s When Speaking With a Friend Who Has Lost a Loved One

Conversation is not a taboo

 Many of us hesitate to have a conversation thinking talking about a loss will make your friend even more sad. But the truth is that they’re already thinking the loved one. Nothing kind that you say or talk about will make them feel worse.

Listen

This isn’t contradictory to the point on talking. But it’s nice to reflect on the fact that conversations are a lot more about listening.

I’m sorry/ I don’t know what to say/How can I help/How are you today

 It’s okay to share kind words that may not be perfect responses. The loss of a loved one is not an everyday occurrence, and you’re not expected to prepared with a perfect line. The feeling of being lost is natural. Do not try to fight it. Instead, focus on how you can help. Listen to this excerpt from Sheryl Sandberg, who loved her husband, and talks about how to deal with grief.

 

Don’ts When Speaking With a Friend Who Has Lost a Loved One

Religious Advice

Depending on what religion or ideology you follow your ideas of afterlife, heaven and all else that comes in between may differ from your friend. Recognize that sharing conflicting ideas or things they’re not comfortable with, will not help.

Future Expectations

You may think that you’re being helpful by telling your friend that ‘the future will be better,’ but it may come off as patronizing or generic. No one knows what will happen the next day and that’s okay.

Comparisons

You may not have the same experience, and even if you’ve lost someone in your life, each person has their own way of dealing with grief and loss. Comparisons do not help at all. So, keep your stories locked down.

What are your experiences of conversations with someone who has lost a loved one? What are some of the best ways to communicate in your experience?


Everdays is designed as a solution to help make communication around a passing less burdensome. You can communicate and send condolence notes privately to friends and family without calls and texts on multiple platforms.