When a friend or loved one is grieving, our first instinct is to help but more often than not, our good intentions lead to more grief. It is therefore important to know the right things to say when playing the role of a supportive emotional caregiver. The list below examines some of the best things you can say to a grieving loved one to help.
Talk Less, Listen More
Having a sympathetic ear towards grief is a valuable yet under-appreciated gift. More often than not, people work through grief by talking about it repeatedly. Have a listening ear first before you are quick to offer advice. Having a listening ear comes in handy especially when you don’t know what to say.
Keep In Touch
A common mistake many people make is to check in on a grieving friend once or twice and then move on. It’s not okay to offer temporary support to a grieving friend and then move on without following up with the support. Be that person who follows up even if you aren’t giving all your energy (it could be a phone call). That you remember and care will be appreciated.
When a person is grieving, most times they ask to be alone and be allowed to wallow in their misery. It is not a bad idea to hang out with them or get them out of the house now and then. You can grab a quick bite or drink together, the aim is to get them active and see the world rather than be confined in their room.
People handle grief in different ways so be sensitive to your loved one’s emotions. Try not to impose your beliefs on them and give them grace. Don’t lash out in anger even when your efforts get frustrated.