Losing someone is one of the worst things in life. Whether it’s due to a death, addiction or someone’s choice to leave, having that void is horrible. If you have a friend going through it, it can be tough to know what to do or how to be there for them while they’re grieving. You don’t want to treat things too normal because you know their life is anything but that.
When I lost my brother, my friends were all very supportive even when they were at a loss of what to do or say. I found it was best when I was able to talk openly about what was on my mind. It helped to spend time with others even if we didn’t do much of anything. When they checked-in on how I was or reached out on my brother’s birthday, it reminded me how important these people were in my life.
Any amount of effort you put in to be there for them is greatly appreciated. They will know that others haven’t forgotten them or their loved one.
If you’re struggling with how to be there for someone who lost a loved one, there are a few things to do. It helps to just listen, spend time with them, and check in after the initial few months. Here’s a little more on why each of these plays a huge part in helping your friend through the grieving process.
A grieving friend doesn’t expect you to know how they feel unless you’ve experienced what they’re going through. You may not know what to say or have the best advice, but one of the best ways to help is to be a good listener.
They probably have a lot of feelings and thoughts to vent. Don’t worry about having the right thing to say back. Just let them know you’re there to listen to them. You’re a shoulder to lean on and that’s a good feeling to have when their life has been turned upside down.
Also, don’t try too hard to change the subject. If you want to make it more positive, share memories of the person that was lost. Someone wants to hear about their loved one. It’s nice to know that others remember them and that the person left a lasting impact. Not mentioning a loved one can seem like others just forget they existed.
2. Spend Time With Them
Your friend may reject this effort, but keep trying. They might not want to leave their house or do much of anything. To them, they might feel like they can’t go anywhere because they’ll be bringing everyone down. However, it’s comforting to know someone wants to spend time with them. Even more so when they know if they’re not the most fun to be around.
You can grab a coffee, a bite to eat, try a new workout class or even just hang out at home. Any small effort is huge when taking the steps to get back to living life. Spending time will help them feel less alone. It might even help to take their mind from their grieving thoughts.
3. Check In
Reaching out to let them know you’re thinking of them is a small gesture they will greatly appreciate. If it’s on a holiday, special occasion or a day that means something to them, it is even more important. It shows that you’re remembering this person with them.
Also, it’s important because as time goes by, it honestly gets much harder. Reality sets in more now than in the beginning. Nobody’s really there as much anymore because everyone’s life continues back to normal.
Your friend may feel isolated. It’s as if no one cares or they want to avoid talking about someone because they’re afraid it will stir up sad emotions.
Also, people assume that the grieving person is okay and doesn’t need to talk about anything. You should always continue to reach out. There is always more to be said or memories to be shared that can help bring comfort to your friend.
Losing a loved one is the hardest thing to have to go through in life. If you have a friend grieving the loss of someone, be there for them even when you think they seem fine.
Grief has many stages and it’s hard for someone to go through them alone. The best ways to be there for them are to listen, spend time with them even if it’s a 15-minute talk over coffee, and reach out over time. Your friend will be grateful that you’re there, no matter how small the effort may seem to you.