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How To Help Someone Who Is Grieving
- DO let your genuine concern and caring show.
- DO be available... to listen or to help with whatever else seems needed at the time.
- DO say you are sorry about what happened and about their pain.
- DO allow them to express as much unhappiness as they are feeling at the moment and are willing to share.
- DO encourage them to be patient with themselves, not to expect too much of themselves and not to impose any “shoulds” on themselves.
- DO allow them to talk about their loss as much and as often as they want to.
- DO talk about the special, endearing qualities of the person they've lost.
- DON'T let your own sense of helplessness keep you from reaching out.
- DON'T avoid them because you are uncomfortable (being avoided by friends adds pain to an already painful experience).
- DON'T say that you "know how they feel". (Unless you've experienced their loss yourself you probably don't know how they feel.)
- DON'T say "you ought to be feeling better by now" or anything else that implies a judgment about their feelings.
- DON'T tell them what they should feel or do. DON'T change the subject when they mention their loss or their loved one.
- DON'T avoid mentioning their loss out of fear of reminding them of their pain (You can be sure they haven't forgotten it.
- DON'T try to find something positive (e.g. a moral lesson, closer family ties, etc.) about the loss.
- DON'T point out “at least they have their other ...”
- DON'T say they “can always have another ...”
- DON'T suggest that they “should be grateful for their so-and-so...”
- DON'T make any comments which in any way suggest that their loss was their fault (there will be enough feelings of doubt and guilt without any help from their friends).