10 Specific Suggestions for How to Help a Grieving Friend – by Howard Whitman

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This fabulous article really captures the essence of what those grieving need from those with whom they’re acquainted. It also helps those uncomfortable with the topic of death to understand that there are many ways to lighten the emotional load for the person who is grieving.

The 11th suggestion I would offer is this: If you’re with someone who has recently suffered a loss and you don’t know what to say; you feel any words you offer couldn’t possibly make a difference; offer a hug. Your sincere intentions will transfer to them and just might provide them with the assurance that you acknowledge their grief and want them to know that they are not alone. Thank you Howard Whitman for offering this article to us.

Kindness Blog

grief wallpaper

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from Keys to Happiness, an anthology of articles published in 1954.

Most of us want to be helpful when grief strikes a friend, but often we don’t know how. We may end up doing nothing because we don’t know the right — and helpful — things to say and do. Because that was my own experience recently, I resolved to gather pointers which might be useful to others as well as myself.

Ministers, priests, and rabbis deal with such situations every day. I went to scores of them, of all faiths, in all parts of the country.

Here are some specific suggestions they made:

1. Don’t try to “buck them up.”

This surprised me when the Rev. Arthur E. Wilson of Providence, RI mentioned it. But the others concurred. It only makes your friend feel worse when you say, “Come now…

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3 thoughts on “10 Specific Suggestions for How to Help a Grieving Friend – by Howard Whitman

    Jill Weatherholt said:
    February 4, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Thanks for sharing, Irene. Number five is so true. My coworker recently lost his wife unexpectedly. At first, I didn’t know what to say, so I just let him talk. I think he felt better and so did I.


      boomer98053 responded:
      February 4, 2015 at 11:41 am

      Yes. Sometimes people just need to talk to someone who will listen to them without judgment. Sounds like you provided what he needed.


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