How Do I Comfort A Friend Who Lost a Loved One? - Deepstash
The Philosophy Of Alan Watts

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The Philosophy Of Alan Watts

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Say something rather than nothing

Say something rather than nothing

  • It is better to say something rather than nothing and to express empathy instead of sympathy
  • Most people enduring the tiring and lonely experience of grief benefit from expressions that are more empathetic than sympathetic
  • Generally, people prefer to be understood rather than pitied
  • What is needed in these situations is less about what is said and more about being there to help hold space for the grief.


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Some things to avoid saying and doing

  • "I know what you're going through." We can never know exactly.
  • "Did the doctors try everything to save him/her?" Some things in life cannot be saved and fixed, no matter how we try.
  • Cliched like: "Everything happens for a reason." "God has a plan." "Time will heal." "They’re in a much better place."
  • "Let me know if you need anything." This puts the burden on the caregiver or the bereaved person when he or she already is preoccupied with too many things, both big and small. Try instead to offer something very concrete and very specific that you know you can do.


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Some things that might be helpful to say and do

  • Don't worry about bringing up this loss unless for some reason the person has already indicated they don't want to talk about it at all.
  • Don't be afraid to share a fun or funny memory you have. 
  • It is best to let the person be the guide as to how much or how little they want to share, answer, vent, switch topics, etc.
  • Acknowledge that words seem to fail, that you are aware this really sucks and feels empty, sad, lonely, hard, stressful, etc.
  • Offer to simply sit with the person, even in stillness and silence, or to just be in the other room as a familiar presence.


146 reads



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