I Did Not Know What To Say Blog

What NOT To Say to Someone That Has Lost a Loved One

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on July 6, 2009

Knowing what not to say can be just as important as finding the right words to comfort a loved one when they are grieving.  Many of the following sayings might seem on the surface to be the right thing to say; after all you have probably heard them said at a funeral.  However, to a person grieving these saying encourage them to deny their true emotions and can be offensive.   

Here are a few to try to avoid:

  •  Keep your chin up
  •  You must feel like an orphan now
  •  If you were more religious these things would not be happening to you
  • You poor thing, life will never be the same
  • Things are really going to be awful for you for awhile
  • (name of person) would not want you to be upset
  • You are young; you can always have another child
  • You have other children to keep you busy
  • You can always get remarried
  • Crying and being depressed will not bring your loved one back
  • Don’t be sad, they are in a better place now
  • Oh its just an animal, you can get another one
  • You must have a dark cloud over you with all these bad things happening
  • How do you think your loved one would feel if they saw you like this?
  • Your loved one passed away so long ago, why are you still upset?

One of the most important things to remember when you are trying to comfort a friend that has lost a loved one is to not diminish their feelings.  The person that has passed away may be out of pain and onto their next journey but it does not change the normal grieving process for the individuals that are still among the living.  It is important to remember that grief is normal and it is very important that your loved one does not deny their sadness or try to put on a happy face to make everyone else feel better.  Denying these emotions can have a long term effect on their well being.  

You may become uncomfortable when watching someone go through the deep emotional pain that can occur during the grieving process.  However, part of being a good friend means you allow the person to feel the full range of emotions that the grieving process brings – both the celebration of the person’s life and the deep feelings of loss and loneliness that come from losing a loved one.   By allowing the grieving process to take its natural progression you will assist your friend reach a sense of balance in their life. 

The best thing you can do is keep it simple, keep it sincere, and keep it heartfelt.   Not sure what to say… why not start with asking yourself this simple question… What would you like someone to say to you if you lost a loved one?  

Still not sure what to say, visit our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com for thoughtful ideas. 

Remember to…

Hug them, Love them, Show up and Listen.  You will do more for your friend by showing up and listening than any words can ever say. 

Let us know if you have anything to add to our list.  Sometimes knowing what not to say is just as important as knowing what to say. 

Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.  ~Mother Theresa


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Our Newsletter includes tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one.
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© 2009 Lori Pederson
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:  Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What To Say, a website built to inspire and to provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process.   If you would like our free newsletter on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one, please visit our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

One Response to “What NOT To Say to Someone That Has Lost a Loved One”

  1. Amaya said

    Oh, and get this one: God’s ways are higher than ours, so if your brother died, it must have been for the best. I can’t believe the nerve of some people. Like that’s going to make the pain go away.

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