Do you have a friend mourning a loved one? As friends, we want to help, but many of us aren’t sure where to start. Consoling a grieving friend can be tricky, so we’ve put together some useful tips on how to help.
Understand Grieving is a Process
The first thing you should know about how to help console a grieving friend is that mourning is a different process for everyone. There may be similar feelings that we all go through, but there is no right or wrong way to grieve.
In intense grief, extreme emotions and behaviors may manifest in your friend, and that’s okay. Everyone will go through the grieving process in their own way, so don’t try to change your friend to grieve the way you would.
Stay in Touch
Simply reaching out to let a grieving friend know you’re there for them and willing to talk can do wonders. Check in on your friend regularly, whether with a text message, a phone call, or just stopping by to say hello.
If you know your friend is having a rough time, taking them out for a meal or grabbing a coffee to chat can be a profound gesture. Talking with a friend can be a reprieve for many struggling with grief.
Get Them a Gift
Mourning can’t be solved by spending money, but offering a heartwarming sympathy gift for a grieving friend can go a long way. It’s not about how much the item costs. Instead, a gift is a token to show your friend that you’re there to support and help them through this difficult time.
It could be something personal and sentimental to your friend or as simple as a gift card to a coffee place you know they love. It’s the act of giving your friend a gift that matters, not the gift itself.
Listening > Talking
As the Greek philosopher Epictetus once said, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” When helping a grieving friend, many people fret about the right words to say—but what you say isn’t as significant as being there to listen.
Allow your friend to vent about their thoughts and emotions while they’re mourning. Engage with them, but let them lead the way. If they don’t want to talk about their loss, follow their lead, and don’t push them into talking about something that makes them uncomfortable.
Offer Practical Help
While mourning, small daily chores and errands can fall by the wayside. Often, the best way to help and support a grieving friend is by taking some of those chores off their plate so they can focus on their emotions.
It may not be a big deal for you, but it can make all the difference for your friend. Some simple, practical ways you can help your friend include:
- Running errands
- Cooking meals
- Cleaning the house
- Doing laundry
- Help with kids or family
We hope our advice can help you and your friend—but remember, everyone confronts grief and loss differently, so find what works in your situation and adapt.
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