FEBRUARY 17 | 2009
Nearly everybody has, at some time or another, experienced the loss of a loved one. Many have also been in the position to comfort a friend at the loss of someone dear to them. In either case, sympathy words are exchanged. The perennial problem is, of course, that in times of grief, it may be difficult to find the right words. It may in fact be difficult to physically say them at all. However, it's important to express your sympathy to your friend or loved one, You can use sample letters of sympathy and condolence to help you find the right words.
Choosing your words when you are called on to comfort someone in grief is more complicated than just trying to make them feel better. You want them to know that you can empathize with their pain. The difficult part in all of that is knowing that they will have heard sympathy words from perhaps a hundred other people as well, so what can you say that will truly give them peace and closure? Look to Sample Letters of sympathy and condolences online for inspiration.
SYMPATHY EXAMPLES: Find Just The Right Thing to Say, Sympathy Words and Sayings
CONDOLENCE SAMPLES: 15 Sample Cards and Letters, Words of Condolences
Here is something to think about: If you had just lost one of your parents or a sibling, what would you find comforting? How well you know someone is a good litmus test of what you should say and how you should say it. When finding sympathy words, always remember to whom you are speaking. If that person is a very private individual, he or she may prefer to be left alone for the most part. In that case, knowing when the appropriate time to approach is essential to successfully providing comforting sympathy words to the grieving person.
The following is a short list of sympathy words you can say to someone to bring him or her comfort. You can find a complete list of Condolence Phrases for dozens of different situations at Sympathy Resources.
These are just a few things that people have found to be helpful over the years. They are effective mainly because the speaker empathizes with the bereaved. That is the main thing, and it cannot be overstated. Your sympathy words should show that you empathize with the kind of pain they are experiencing, and that you can help them through it.
Saying "I know how you feel" to someone who has lost a loved one is not the best way to show your sympathy. Words like that can sometimes hurt more than they help because no one can truly know what another person is feeling about anything, especially the death of someone dear.
Also, avoid being at all insincere. Again, remember that this person will most likely have heard sympathy words from many other people over a few days, so the last thing they want to hear is condolences that are not heartfelt. Don't offer your help if you can't or won't actually help.
Sometimes, offering sympathy words can involve no words at all. Making a meal for
The grieving process is different for everybody, but the one immutable truth behind everybody's experience is that the right words or gestures can go a long way towards easing the pain of this difficult transition in their lives.
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