If there’s someone in your life who has lost someone close to them recently, it can be hard to know what to do or say. Of course, you want to be supportive, but it can be difficult to know what will actually help. This is because everyone grieves differently. Some people need space and solitude, while others need people around them at all times. While some will be visibly distraught, others might be better at putting on a brave face. It’s impossible to know exactly what your friend wants or needs, but these eight thoughtful gestures will speak volumes and will remind them that you’re ready to support them when they are ready.
Don’t be afraid to send a text or email, however brief.
When you hear that your friend has lost someone close to them, it can seem like nothing you say will be good enough. Lots of people take the route of avoidance. But then, don’t be afraid to reach out, even if you feel that you have nothing to say that could possibly help. Just seeing a friend’s name pop up on their phone or in their inbox will be a huge help in itself. Even if your message just says you’re sorry for their loss, it’s the thoughtful gesture in itself that will really make a difference. Your friend is probably feeling lonely and fragile – a reminder from you that you’re thinking of them is enough.
Bring them food or cook them a meal.
Grief can be utterly debilitating. Everyday tasks such as getting dressed or brushing your teeth can start to feel mountainous and impossible to accomplish. Lots of people forget to eat or start to eat whatever they can find lying around the house. Meal-planning and healthy eating go out the window. After a few days or even weeks, ask if you can come around and cook for them. This thoughtful gesture will help them immensely.
Offer to help them with daily chores.
Other chores and daily tasks have likely become as difficult for your friend as cooking a simple meal has become. By offering to help with their daily tasks, you’re effectively telling them that it’s okay to take the time they need to grieve. Giving them the time and space away from their daily lives will be a huge help for them. Offer to take the dog for a walk, drop the kids off at school, do a grocery shop, or tidy up around the house.
Send A Thoughtful Gift.
If you want to send an extraordinary gift to remind your friend that you’re thinking of them, try a same day gift delivery service. They often have a huge range of gift baskets for any occasion that can be delivered quickly, sometimes even on the same day. Beautiful flower arrangements are perfect for sending if you cannot go to the funeral, or if you can’t be with them during their grieving process. If you want to send something more personal than flowers, check for other suitable gifts that will last longer and comfort your friend for months to come. For instance, you might consider sending a personalized candle or a potted plant. Receiving a gift from you will remind your friend that they aren’t alone, even if you can’t be there with them physically.
Don’t try to find the positives in the situation.
When speaking with your grieving friend, don’t try to find any positives in what has happened. You’ll only alienate them by turning to clichéd statements like, “It was meant to be” or “They’re in a better place.” The best thing to do is instead to acknowledge that what has happened is awful. What they need the most is the space to voice these feelings without being told they’re wrong, or that “things will get better soon.”
Don’t try to compare their situation to anything else.
Grief is always individual, and everyone will experience it differently. The loss of a loved one affects people in ways even they couldn’t have predicted, and because of this, it can feel scary and isolating. While you should try and comfort your friend, don’t try to tell them you know how they’re feeling, because no one can. Instead, assure them that however they’re feeling, it’s okay to feel that way. Knowing they can be honest with you about how they are feeling will be a great comfort.
Keep on giving.
Grief lasts much longer than we sometimes think. Weeks and months after your friend’s loved one has passed away, they will likely still be struggling with ups and downs. Grief becomes harder when it feels like everyone else has moved on and gone back to normal around you. Remember to keep checking in, even if it seems like your friend is doing fine. Text them from time to time just to say you’re still thinking of them. Offer to help with chores again or send a gift basket again. Acknowledging that their grief is still valid is the best support you can give.
Make a joke.
Depending on how well you know your friend, don’t be afraid to crack the odd joke. When you’re grieving, it can sometimes feel like everyone around you is walking on eggshells. It will be a great relief to have a good laugh. Of course, do be sensitive in the jokes you choose to make. You know your friend’s sense of humor best, and what will offend some will amuse others.
Hopefully, these thoughtful tips make it a little bit easier to comfort your grieving friend. It can be incredibly hard to see your friend in pain, and even harder to know how to help. Remember to reach out regularly and ask what you can do. Just by being available and willing to help, you’ll be a huge comfort.