How to best deal with friends who are grieving

How can you help your friends deal with tough times?

It’s one of those tricky situations, when one of you nearest and dearest has lost a loved one. What do you do? What do you say? How can you make them feel better? Is that even possible at this time of their life?

The thing is, you are probably not going to make them feel better any time soon, but that’s OK. They are allowed to grieve. But there are things you can do to help make their lives a little easier in the meantime.

Lend an ear

Sometime the simplest and best thing you can do is listen. Listen to their stories, their heartaches, their fears, their sorrows. Let them know it’s OK to talk. Don’t give them advice, just express your sorrow, and listen some more.

Accept

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Not everyone grieves in the same way. Some get angry, some are just incredibly sad, some seem to have no emotion at all, and some have a mixture of all at varying times. There is no right or wrong way. It’s not referred to as a roller-coaster of emotions for nothing.

Help but don’t ask

If you see something that needs doing, do it. You can ask if they need something from the supermarket, ask if they need some washing done, the dishes sorted, or even offer a meal. Start folding the washing, sweeping the floors, or whatever it is you can see that needs doing. Don’t ask if they need help, though, without giving them a suggestion of what that help might be. It’s just another thing to add to their list of worries, if they have to think about what needs doing. 

Be there

The best thing you can do is be there for them. Some people find it uncomfortable to be around those who are grieving. It’s a look in the face of their own mortality and it’s hard to face. But that’s what you should do, for them. Face it. It doesn’t mean you have to hang around them all the time, because often they just want to spend time alone to deal with things themselves. You can still let them know you’re there if needed. A call to check in, a text message, even stopping by quickly to see how they are, can all help let them know they are supported. 

Have you been through this with a loved one? How did you help them through?