When a friend is grieving, it’s easy to feel helpless. Watching them cycle through the five stages of grief isn’t easy, and you know being a good friend means staying by their side as they process a loss.
But what if you want to do more than just lend a shoulder to cry on? What’s the best way to help a grieving friend?
If you’re in need of some tips to comfort your friend, here are 5 ways to help them cope with the loss.
1. Be Available
Grief often shows itself in the most inconvenient times, especially when you’re not expecting it. Your friend may suddenly experience waves of grief at the most inopportune times.
Be sure to reiterate to your friend that you’re available for talking, listening, crying, or whatever else they need. Even if they don’t feel like talking or doing anything, just knowing someone is available is comforting.
2. Encourage Them to Join a Support Group
While your friendship and lending ear is likely helpful in so many ways, sometimes you truly don’t understand the depth of your friend’s grief. This is ok, and nothing to feel guilty about.
However, there are support groups that exist to assist people with specific losses. It could be death, divorce, job loss, or anything, and those who lead these groups are equipped to walk people through their grief. It might just be the best thing for your friend to talk to someone who’s been there.
While listening is a great help, another appropriate way to express your support is by purchasing a sympathy gift.
A sympathy gift can be thoughtful, commemorating the memory of a loved one. There are several sympathy gift ideas, but memory boxes, flowers, gift cards for food, and picture frames, are all good choices.
4. Fill Practical Needs
In some cases, grief can be debilitating. Whatever type of grief your friend is going through may interfere with their ability to get out of bed, go to work, or even provide meals for themselves.
Sometimes the best thing people can do for those grieving is to step up and meet practical needs. This could mean making a trip to the grocery store, running errands, bringing meals, picking up the children, or whatever else they need. Don’t be afraid to ask how you can help or even just offering is better, because sometimes those that are grieving don’t know what they need.
5. Things to Avoid
Yes, even in grief, there are cliches to avoid!
Saying things like, “They’re in a better place” or pushing them to move on, or trying to fix the sadness is all counterproductive. Even if you have the best of intentions, they still may come across as hurtful or insensitive.
It’s best to let your friend do the talking and you do the listening!
Learn How to Help a Grieving Friend
Sometimes you can feel lost when you’re trying to help a grieving friend, but rest assured that doing nothing at all isn’t good either! Follow these tips and be patient with your friend as they process the loss.
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