Switch to Accessible Site
Wellness StartsHere
Woman Being Free

What to Say and Not to Say After a Loss

We have all been in the awkward situation of not knowing what to say to a friend, neighbor, co-worker or other acquaintance who is suffering through the loss of a loved one.  We want to offer some comfort, to be helpful and caring, but we just can’t find the words.  As a counselor and person who has suffered through tremendous loss, I would like to offer some tips on how to speak to people during difficult times. 

Some things to never say to a person who has suffered loss:

  • I know how you feel
  • They are in a better place
  • At least they lived a long life
  • It’s in God’s plan
  • This will make you stronger
  • At least they are not suffering

These statements are all meant to offer comfort, but can have the opposite effect.  The person on the receiving end of these statements can feel invalidated because their pain is dismissed.  Some of these statements are meant to offer meaning regarding the loss.  Although well intentioned, it is insensitive to assign our meaning to theirdifficult circumstance.   

Better things to say to someone who has suffered loss:

  • I’m sorry for your loss
  • I’m sorry this happened
  • I have no words to express my sadness
  • You and your family or you and ___ are often on my mind
  • You are in my prayers
  • ___ is in my prayers
  • I wish I could share and lighten your pain
  • I am here to be with you when you are in the mood for company

These statements are genuine expressions of concern.  There is comfort in that concern without trying to assign meaning or “a bright side”.   Allowing someone to express grief without jumping in to offer some positive response is generally more helpful.  The other person feels heard and validated.  Feeling listened to without a call to feel stronger or think of the positives helps us to marshal our strengths and find meaning in painful situations.   Being genuine is really the best comfort we can give and it takes strength from us to avoid platitudes and speak from our hearts.

Schedule Appointment with Carolyn

Start your new path in life and be the change today!

Click Here
Schedule Appointment with Sandy

Start your new path in life and be the change today!

Click Here
Helpful Forms

Click here to view and print forms for your appointment.

Click Here