Watching a friend grieve the loss of a loved one is difficult. You may feel compelled to offer support but are unsure how. Here are eight simple tips for supporting a grieving friend.
1- Get in Touch
A lot of people are hesitant to reach out to a grieving friend because they assume that the person needs space. This is rarely the case. Expressing your sympathy is the first step in reminding your friend that you care and want to support them.
2- Be Assertive
It might be your first reaction to ask a grieving friend how you can help. Although this question is well-intentioned, it can cause your friend to feel overwhelmed. Instead of asking if you can come over to help, let them know that you plan to stop by, and ask what time is convenient for them. By doing so, you show that you have already included them in your plans, and they will not be stressed about asking for help.
3- Help with Chores
Grief can make daily tasks feel overwhelming. If you live nearby, consider stopping over to assist with chores. You can relieve your friend of a lot of pressure by doing simple tasks such as laundry, mowing the lawn, or washing dishes. Reassure them that you don’t mind taking time out of your day to help.
4- Prepare a Meal
The last thing on the mind of a grieving person is keeping the refrigerator stocked or preparing a home-cooked meal. You can help by picking up groceries or dropping off a meal if you live nearby. Offer to join your friend for dinner if they are open to it but don’t take it personally if they would prefer to be alone.
5- Listen Without Judgment
Providing a listening ear to a grieving friend is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. Speaking out loud can help your friend process their emotions. Assure your friend that their feelings are valid and that you are there to support them. Do not offer advice unless you are asked.
6- Share your Memories
Talking to a friend about a loved one who passed away can feel intimidating. You might worry that it will trigger feelings of sadness, but this usually isn’t the case. Those who have lost a loved one find comfort in hearing stories about them. If you have memories of the person who passed, be sure to share them. If you didn’t know the person, you can ask your friend about their favorite memories.
7- Extend the Invite
Those who are grieving may find it difficult to spend time with others. Still, keep reminding your friend that they are always welcome to join in on activities. While they may decline, they will appreciate knowing that you are thinking about them. Be persistent while also letting your friend set the pace.
8- Stay in Touch
People who are grieving often fear that the support they are receiving will be temporary. Life gets busy and it’s inevitable that some people will stop checking in. Keeping in touch regularly is an excellent way to show your support and keep the lines of communication open.