Tips for Offering Support to a Grieving Friend

When you encounter a friend during funeral services, it is important to create the space they need to experience their grief. It can be difficult to know how to be supportive in these situations, especially when it feels like the normal rules for etiquette don’t apply. You may experience a side of your friend that you have not seen before, and it can be hard to know how to respond to their emotions in a way that gives them comfort.

Acknowledge the Loss

It may feel easier to avoid the topic of a recent death when you encounter someone who is grieving, but this is not necessarily helpful for them. Be sure to acknowledge the death, and go so far as to refer to the person who died by name. While it may seem uncomfortable to remind your friend of something that is painful to them, it may help them to talk about what has happened, how they feel, and to reminisce about the person they are mourning.


One of the most helpful ways to offer grief support is listening. Don’t worry so much about what you are going to say. Try to focus your energy on them, and be as understanding as possible about the things that they want to talk about. This is not a good time to discuss your own experiences with loss. It is also not the best idea in this moment to offer clichés, or to talk about your views on life and death. It is most supportive to keep the attention on the person who has died.

Be Flexible

Be sure to listen carefully to what is asked of you when you offer help. This may mean giving space for your friend to spend time alone. It may also mean helping with chores or making meals. Get in touch regularly. While it is normal to endure grief for years, some people may benefit from professional guidance. If you notice that your friend is still depressed after a long period of time, consider suggesting that they seek professional grief counseling.

At Skylawn Memorial Park, you will not only find a complete range of funeral services in San Mateo, but you can find grief support with our experienced counseling director. To find resources that will help your friend or loved one productively grieve, call us at (650) 349-4411.

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