Watching your best friend grieve for a lost loved one can be a painful experience that leaves you uncertain about how to respond. Knowing how to communicate your condolences, and understanding what your friend needs from you during this trying time, can help you handle the situation appropriately. It can also leave a long-lasting positive impact on your friendship.
1. Written Condolences
When it comes to penning your condolences, including warm details about your friend's lost loved one can go a long way, according to the Emily Post Institute. A sample letter might read, "Your cousin had the best sense of humor. I'm thinking of you and I love you." If you did not know the deceased, you might instead write, "When you feel ready, I would like to hear more about your brother. I have heard so many wonderful stories about him." Keep the letter focused on your feelings for your friend and the support you are willing to provide.
2. Verbal Condolences
Meeting with a best friend after she has suffered a loss can be uncomfortable. Calling and asking your friend if she would like company, or e-mailing to check in on her, can be a reminder that she has support, according to the Catholic Store Company in Charlotte, N.C. Attending the funeral and telling your friend that you are sorry and that you are there for her may also be ideal ways to express your sympathy.
3. What to Avoid
It may seem that telling your friend her feelings will pass and that you know how she feels is beneficial. In reality, it can undermine your pal's feelings, according to Everplans. Putting a positive spin on the death - like mentioning that at least your friend had the opportunity to say good-bye - can also be painful to hear. Comparing your past losses to your friend's or stating how you cannot imagine losing someone the way she has lost someone can also prove destructive. The loss of your best friend's loved one may permanently change her life, and she may be dealing with the emotional toll for a long time.
There are several other ways to show your sympathy to a friend. Delivering a basket of baked goods to the funeral home may be a welcome gift for a grieving family. Donations of money to the bereaved family or to a particular charity in the deceased's name may also be welcomed by your friend, according to the Emily Post Institute. After the funeral or memorial service, asking your friend if she would like you to drop off groceries or dinner may be helpful as she goes through her grief. Offers to visit and regular phone calls can also be welcome in the weeks and months after your friend's loss.
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