If you have a friend that has recently lost someone important in their life, you may be struggling to find ways to help them. Losing someone close to you is often one of the most difficult times to get through. Finding ways to comfort them or help them can be a challenge. It seems like there’s never a right thing to say or do that can take away their pain. While it is important to first understand that you can’t take away or solve any of their issues right now, there are many ways you can be there for them. Sometimes all they need is an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. We’ve put together some helpful ways that you can be there for a friend that’s grieving a loss.
Perhaps the most simple and useful thing you can do is be there to listen to what your friend needs to talk about right now. Talking has major benefits for the grieving process. It’s important for them to get out their emotions and have a trusted friend that is there for them to doso. Remember that you are there to primarily listen. It can be tempting to want to offer advice, relate to their stories, or find a way to “fix things,” but those things can actually be counterproductive. Sometimes just listening can be the most comforting feeling for them.
When we lose someone, so many people are quick to say things like “he’s in a better place now,” “it was her time to go,” “everything happens for a reason,” and the list goes on. While all of these sayings have good intentions, someone that is grieving doesn’t want to try to put a positive spin on things just yet. Sometimes it’s much more beneficial to just acknowledge how horrible the situation really is. Acknowledging that it is sad and unfair validates their feelings and is much more supportive.
While many of us are quick to say things “let me know if you need anything,” we all know that this is something that most people just hear and never act on. Although your friend really might need something, they’ll still feel like a burden asking. Instead, try to be as specific as possible when offering to help. Tell them you’re going to pick up groceries for them, do their laundry, make the flower arrangements for services, etc. These gestures will go a long way with your friend, and allow them more time to heal and grieve without the added stress of daily activities.
Mostly important, remember to be empathetic to what they’re going through. Understand that the grieving process is going to take time, and they will heal. The best thing you can do is be there for them and ask what they need.