Sympathy Etiquette

There are quite a few areas of sympathy etiquette that all of us are unsure of at one time or another. Mostly it is has to do with common sense. 

- Follow the golden rule -

“Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.”

Try to be sensitive to what they are experiencing. Follow the bereaved’s lead on how best to be of help to your loved one.

expressing sympathy support

It is hard to know what to say in expressing sympathy. What words of comfort for sympathy can we use?

How do you know what to say or maybe more important what not to say to someone coping with loss?

Sometimes the best approach regarding what to say is more about how to listen. 

Fewer words spoken are okay. Try putting a hand on their shoulder as a way to let them know you care.

How can you provide comfort to the bereaved? We need practical tools to know the best ways to offer support and healing. So much of it has to do with being present. By that I mean, be available. Spend time with them even if you feel uncomfortable.

What do you include in a sympathy card or letter? Are you at a loss for words? When you are writing a letter of comfort, it doesn’t have to be eloquent, just heart felt! Be yourself! Write it like you would talk to them.

What is proper sympathy flower etiquette? What kinds of flowers do you send? What size arrangement? Do you buy as an individual or go in as a group? There are no hard and fast rules for a person to follow. This also depends somewhat on where you live and the culture and customs of the area. A florist can be a great resource to help you make the best decision for you.

What is proper funeral etiquette? Have you ever been to a funeral before? Do you know what to expect? If the deceased belonged to a church then it is likely that the funeral will be somewhat similar the church services that they attended.

The “how to” of sympathy etiquette is less important. What is important is making the effort to show kindness and love to someone who is grieving.

Just knowing that you care makes them feel loved.

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Scripture Verse

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

2 Corinthians 1:3,4