When a Friend is Grieving, You Want to Do Whatever You Can to Help.
At some point in our lives, most of us will be faced with a friend who has lost a loved one and needs help grieving. It’s hard seeing friends in pain and we all want to help. Yet, sometimes it’s hard to know how to help a grieving friend. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say or do when we just want to help a friend. But most everyone needs grieving help in times of serious loss, so it’s important to know what to do when you’re helping a friend cope with grief.
Tips for Helping a Grieving Friend
1. Understand that Your Friend Needs to Grieve
Though it’s nearly impossible to understand anyone’s individual grief, understanding the grieving process can help you help grieving. Know that everyone grieves in their own ways, which means no two people grieve in the same way. Don’t take offense if your friend wants to be alone. It’s nothing personal, that’s just how they grieve. Also don’t be offended if they lash out on you, and don’t lash out back. In addition, remember that it takes everyone a different amount of time to accept loss.
2. What Do You Say to a Grieving Friend?
In order to know how to help someone who is grieving
, you have to have some idea of what to say, which can be very difficult. You can always start by saying that you’re sorry this has happened and offer to do whatever you can for them. Be honest. If you don’t know what to say, say so, but remind them that you’re there for them. However, avoid saying that you know how they feel, that it’s all a part of a plan or that they should feel better.
Everyone has different ways to grieve. Some people don’t want to talk at all, while other might want to express their emotions. Ask your grieving friend if they want to talk. If they don’t, leave it alone. If they do, listen for however long they want to talk, and actually listen. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is not say anything.
4. Do Something to Show Them You Care
Telling your friend you’re there for them is a good way to help a grieving friend, but actually doing day-to-day tasks for them can show them you care and help them get by. Bringing them food, going grocery shopping for them and cleaning for them are all great ways to help. Watching their children and/or pets can help too, along with any other tasks that you see needs to be done. You can even take your friend out to a movie or dinner if they decide they want to get out.
5. Be There for the Long Haul
Know that it takes different amounts of time to grieve. To really help a grieving friend, remember that the grief might not be over after a few months. Don’t be fooled by their appearance. Even if they seem fine, they could be good at holding pain in. Be there for them on special days, like birthdays, holidays or the anniversary of a death.