Sadly we will all at times have friends who have lost someone close to them. It can be really hard to know what to say in these difficult times, and sometimes we may just feel it’s better to stay away.

So here are some tips on things that we can say and things we should avoid saying, hopefully it will help us be a source of comfort to our friends and family in their time of need.


  • I am sorry for your loss.
  • I don’t know what to say, but I want you to know that I am here for you.
  • You are in my thoughts and/or prayers.
  • I can’t imagine how you feel, but I am here for you.
  • I remember when … (mention something you remember with fondness about the person who has died).
  • If you need anything, you can catch me at this time.
  • I would like to … Don’t wait for them to ask, offer to do something specific, like cook a meal, buy some groceries, walk the dog; think of what you would find helpful if you were in the same situation.
  • Is it ok if I call/visit from time to time to see how you are doing?
  • Nothing. Sometimes it’s enough just to be present, hold their hand, give them a hug, let them feel how much you care.


  • Minimise their loss by saying “they had a good life”, or “they are in a better place now”.
  • Compare their loss to losses of your own, even if you have had a similar loss you don’t know how they are feeling, everyone is affected and reacts differently.
  • Blame the person who has died.
  • Expect them to be over it, months even years after.
  • Imply that the person can be replaced.
  • Tell them to be strong, this can just make them feel like they are failing, everyone has the right not to be strong when going through such anguish.
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