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Expressing Sympathy

When a friend or colleague loses somebody close to them, it can be difficult to know what to do or say. You want to show support, but may not know what is appropriate or expected. In addition, you may not want to disturb funeral planning and personal grieving. These tips from can make expressing sympathy easier:

Honor The Family's Wishes
If the family requests a charitable donation, take-up a collection among other friends or work associates, or make a personal contribution. indicate that you are making the donation in the deceased person’s name. Ask if the charity will send a list of donors to the deceased’s family, and a card on your behalf. If not send a card or short note that indicates that you have made a contribution.

Send a Gift That Reflects Your Relationship
If you were very close to the bereaved, a generous donation or gift is a good way to signal how much you care. If you do not know them very well, such as in the case of a neighbor, work associate or professional contact, a smaller donation or gift is more appropriate.

Send a Personal Gesture
Even if you send a charitable donation, reach out on a personal level. A card with a heartfelt note is a gracious way to show you care. A small gift, like a plant, will last for a long time, reminding them of your kindness for months and years to come.

Do Not Wait To Show Your Concern
Delaying your sympathy gesture may result in hurt feelings and a compounded sense of loss; even if they seem unreachable, people in mourning will appreciate your effort. They will feel even worse if they sense their friends have abandoned them in their time of need. Send a gift or donation as soon as you can.

Reach Out When The Funeral Is Over
Whether or not you attended the service or sent a donation, make sure to call or send a short note a week or two after the passing. Oftentimes it is when life goes back to “normal” - when visiting relatives have left and funeral planning is over – that grief is most profound. If you have already sent a gift, then a card or call is plenty. If not, a token like a small plant will send a long lasting message of caring.