Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What Not to Say When Expressing Condolences

 What Not to Say When Expressing Condolences

Sometimes what you shouldn’t say in a delicate situation can be just as important as deciding what to say. While you obviously wouldn’t say anything to intentionally hurt anyone, even words meant to be helpful may have the wrong result. When planning your words of comfort, some things should be avoided.
“I Know How You Feel.”
No you don’t. Not even if you experienced the same kind of loss. Every person feels things differently and deals with grief in their own way. Yes, you may have lost a mother, father or spouse just like the person who is grieving now. But you don’t know if you had the same kind of relationship with your family member that they did. Perhaps they are feeling guilt because of previous issues or overwhelmed because that person handled everything. No one can truly know how another person feels.
“It Was For the Best.”
No matter how much this may be true, don’t say it. Often when someone dies after a long, painful illness, people say this as a way to make others feel better, but it doesn’t. No, they wouldn’t want the person back in a body wracked with pain. But they want the person who lived prior to the illness back. That would be best in their hearts.
“He or She is at Peace Now (or in Heaven).”
Grief is really not about the person who died, but the one left behind. It doesn’t matter what your religious beliefs are or where you believe your loved one has gone, they are not with you. You are going to miss them, and that is why you are grieving. Saying they are in a better place or at rest doesn’t remove the fact that they aren’t with their loved ones.
“At Least You Are Not Alone.”
People often say this in one form or another. They say that you have other kids when you lose a child or that you have a spouse when you lose a parent. They may even imply that because you still have your children, losing a spouse is not all that bad. While you may not really mean it that way, the wrong phrase can leave the implication. It’s as if having someone around makes up for the loss of another person. You cannot replace one family member with another one.
What to Say
If these are things you have said in the past to offer comfort, you may be at a loss of what to say instead. The truth is, sometimes less is more. If you really don’t have any words to say, offer silent comfort. Think about what message you want to give to that person and compose words that relay that. Chances are, what you really want to say is “I’m sorry” or “I don’t know what to say but I hurt for you.” If that is the case, then say it. Don’t try to come up with clichéd statements that can cause more pain than comfort.

Suzie Kolber is a writer at .
The site is a complete guide for someone seeking help for writing
sympathy messages, condolence letters and funeral planning resources.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.