Things you should never do if someone is grieving
When it comes to comforting someone, who has experienced a loss, we all mean well. Although it’s not always easy to know what to say or do, we always try our best to offer comfort and support. There are many different stages of grief that your friend or loved one will need to work through in their own time. The right support and the right approach from you can ensure that they experience those stages as well equipped and as well supported as possible.
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Unfortunately, not everyone can avoid faux pas when they have a friend or family member dealing with a devastating loss. Often, the wrong turn of phrase can make what they’re going through even more difficult, or worse – invalidate their feelings entirely. To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, let’s explore some of the things you should never do if someone is grieving.
Force your religious views on them
While you may take comfort from your religion, it’s unfair to thrust these beliefs onto others, especially when they’re dealing with a sudden loss. Phrases such as “it’s all part of God’s plan” or “they’re in a better place now” are not sentiments someone coping with grief will take comfort from. Even if they are religious, sentiments like these better come from a church leader or religious figure. Ensure your personal beliefs take a back seat and don’t intrude on these delicate moments.
Encouraging them to move on
Grief affects us all differently, and there is no time limit on healing or acceptance. It’s important to remember this when you’re speaking with someone dealing with a loss. Statements such as “you should be over this by now” or “when do you think you’ll feel better?” should certainly be avoided. Pushing acceptance on them can invalidate their emotions and make their situation worse.
Not reaching out to them after the funeral
Grief isn’t over once the funeral is done. It can go on for months, even years. While it’s easy to think that your friend doesn’t want any further support, or you’re convinced that you’ll be seen as intruding, you should give them more consideration. Checking in with your friend with a text message, video call, or visiting them at home lets them know that you’re there to support them when they need it. Ask them how they’re doing, if you can pick them anything up from the store or support them in any other way.
And finally, making it about you
Sometimes we try to appeal to others by sharing our own personal experiences. But when you have a friend who is dealing with a loss, it’s important to ensure that it’s their feelings that are being heard, not yours. Comparing your own grieving journey to theirs is unhelpful, so remember to keep the focus on their loss, not your own personal experience.