7 Simple Ways to Help Your Grieving Friend
By Larry M. Barber, LPC-S, CT
Guidelines for Helping Someone Who is Mourning
Friends often ask themselves questions, such as: What should I do? What should I say? Am I doing the right thing? What can I do better? Here are some suggestions for helping the person in grief:
Take some kind of action. Make a phone call, send a card, give a hug, attend the funeral, help with practical matters (e.g., meals, care of children).
Be available. Allow the person time so that there is no sense of “urgency” when you visit or talk.
Be a good listener. Accept the words and feelings expressed, avoid being judgmental or taking their feelings personally. Avoid telling them what they should feel or what they should do.
Don’t minimize the loss and avoid giving clichés and easy answers. Don’t be afraid to talk about the loss (i.e., the deceased, the ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, the disability, etc.).
Allow the bereaved person to grieve for as long or short of a time as needed. Be patient. There are no shortcuts.
Encourage the bereaved to care for themselves. They need to attend to physical needs, postpone major decisions, and allow themselves to grieve and recover.
Acknowledge and accept your own limitations. Many situations can be hard to handle, but can be made easier with the help of outside resources – books, workshops, support groups, other friends, or professionals.
The grief survival guide is also available in Spanish as “El Amor Nunca Muere: Aceptando el Dolor con Esperanza y Promesa” on Amazon.com.
FOR INFORMATION ON SCHEDULING COUNSELING SERVICES WITH LARRY BARBER https://taylorcounselinggroup.com/larry-barber .