Advertising
Advertising

7 Things to Say (and Not Say) to a Grieving Person

7 Things to Say (and Not Say) to a Grieving Person

Your friend’s father just died and you’re in a panic.

young woman grieving

    “What should I say? What if I say something wrong?”

    Hey, it’s really not your fault our society is so death-and-grief-phobic. No one ever taught you how to be with someone who is grieving. Here are seven things not to say, along with better ways of saying them.

    1. Not: “He’s in a better place” or “Just be happy he’s not in pain anymore.”

    The place she wants him to be is with her, no matter how much pain he was in or how difficult the care-giving was.

    Advertising

    Better: “You must miss him terribly.”

    2. Not: “You’ll get married again” or “You can always have other children” or “At least you have your other children.”

    But the person he really wants back and is grieving for isn’t here and he will not ever be able to replace her. Honor that.

    Better: “I know how special she was to you and how much you loved her.”

    3. Not: “It’s time for you to get yourself together.”

    Advertising

    Each person’s path of grief is unique. Maybe it isn’t time for her to get herself “together” yet. Even if she is not functioning well enough to take care of herself or her family, it may be best to get friends and loved ones to pitch in to take care of the family for awhile rather than shaming her or having her feel that she’s “not handling this better.”

    Better: “It looks like this is a rough day for you. How about if I bring some dinner over about six?”

    4. Not: “I’m sure it will all be better soon.”

    Ouch! It’s so hard to watch a friend or family member grieve… we often want him to feel better so we’ll feel better! Remember, he may be thinking he’ll never feel better so presuming how he is going to feel in the future may be very frustrating for him.

    Better: “I’ll be here for as long as you need me.”

    5. Not: “God’s plans are always the best. It must have been what He intended.”

    This has the possibility of creating anger toward God or a higher power in the grieving person. Also, it’s very important to know the person’s belief system before mentioning anything about God or a higher power. Don’t assume the person has the same faith or belief that you do.

    Better: “I’m so sorry.”

    6. Not: “Don’t cry in front of the children.”

    Kids are often more upset by what they don’t know than what they do know, so many times it’s appropriate to model normal grief for the children.

    Advertising

    Better: “How are the kids doing with this?”

    7. Not: Saying nothing at all.

    This is actually one of the worst things that can happen to a grieving person: having people ignore his pain. If you’re not sure what to say, or are uncertain that the person wants to talk about it, it’s okay to say just that.

    Better: “I’m not sure what to say but I want you to know I’m here for you” and/or “Do you feel like talking about her death right now?”

    The best thing to remember when being with a grieving person is just that: be with her. Sometimes you don’t even need to talk. She just wants to know that you are okay to sit with her in her pain.

    Advertising

    But in case you’ve been worried about what to say while you’re sitting with her, I hope these ideas have been helpful.

    For more, check out my article on grieving, But I Don’t Know What to Say . . . how to talk with a person in grief.

    More by this author

    How to Manage Your Customer’s Stress 7 Things to Say (and Not Say) to a Grieving Person 3 Specific Ways to Reduce Anxiety Warning: Believing These 10 Famous Myths Might Be Making You Dumb 4 New Words to Help You Love Your Life Now

    Trending in Communication

    1 How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them 2 Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again 3 12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life 4 13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently 5 How to Find Inner Peace and Lasting Happiness

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

    How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

    If I was a super hero I’d want my super power to be the ability to motivate everyone around me. Think of how many problems you could solve just by being able to motivate people towards their goals. You wouldn’t be frustrated by lazy co-workers. You wouldn’t be mad at your partner for wasting the weekend in front of the TV. Also, the more people around you are motivated toward their dreams, the more you can capitalize off their successes.

    Being able to motivate people is key to your success at work, at home, and in the future because no one can achieve anything alone. We all need the help of others.

    So, how to motivate people? Here are 7 ways to motivate others even you can do.

    Advertising

    1. Listen

    Most people start out trying to motivate someone by giving them a lengthy speech, but this rarely works because motivation has to start inside others. The best way to motivate others is to start by listening to what they want to do. Find out what the person’s goals and dreams are. If it’s something you want to encourage, then continue through these steps.

    2. Ask Open-Ended Questions

    Open-ended questions are the best way to figure out what someone’s dreams are. If you can’t think of anything to ask, start with, “What have you always wanted to do?”

    “Why do you want to do that?”

    Advertising

    “What makes you so excited about it?”

    “How long has that been your dream?”

    You need this information the help you with the following steps.

    Advertising

    3. Encourage

    This is the most important step, because starting a dream is scary. People are so scared they will fail or look stupid, many never try to reach their goals, so this is where you come in. You must encourage them. Say things like, “I think you will be great at that.” Better yet, say, “I think your skills in X will help you succeed.” For example if you have a friend who wants to own a pet store, say, “You are so great with animals, I think you will be excellent at running a pet store.”

    4. Ask About What the First Step Will Be

    After you’ve encouraged them, find how they will start. If they don’t know, you can make suggestions, but it’s better to let the person figure out the first step themselves so they can be committed to the process.

    5. Dream

    This is the most fun step, because you can dream about success. Say things like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if your business took off, and you didn’t have to work at that job you hate?” By allowing others to dream, you solidify the motivation in place and connect their dreams to a future reality.

    Advertising

    6. Ask How You Can Help

    Most of the time, others won’t need anything from you, but it’s always good to offer. Just letting the person know you’re there will help motivate them to start. And, who knows, maybe your skills can help.

    7. Follow Up

    Periodically, over the course of the next year, ask them how their goal is going. This way you can find out what progress has been made. You may need to do the seven steps again, or they may need motivation in another area of their life.

    Final Thoughts

    By following these seven steps, you’ll be able to encourage the people around you to achieve their dreams and goals. In return, you’ll be more passionate about getting to your goals, you’ll be surrounded by successful people, and others will want to help you reach your dreams …

    Oh, and you’ll become a motivational super hero. Time to get a cape!

    More on Motivation

    Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

    Read Next