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Etiquette for Expressing Sympathy when someone has passed away.



One of the hardest emotions for people to express is that of sympathy, and rightfully so. It's hard to know what to say or how to say it when someone close to a friend or family member has passed away. You're afraid to say the wrong thing or be insensitive like most people. So you stick to saying things like "My condolences" which is classic, but the person in which you are expressing your condolences has heard and read that phrase hundreds of times. But people stick to that phrase because hey aren't comfortable with the etiquette of expressing sympathy. Allow Peerless Etiquette to help.


When someone loses a loved one understanding the proper etiquette is important. Here are some useful phrases you can use to comfort someone.

  • I am sorry for your loss

  • Our deepest sympathy to you and your family

  • (Name of deceased) will always be in our hearts

  • In loving memory of (Name of deceased)

  • (Name of deceased's) memory will forever be with us

  • Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time

  • Please accept our condolences on the loss of your (mother/husband/friend)

  • My heartfelt condolences on the loss of your (mother/husband/friend)

  • With deepest sympathy at this time of sorrow

  • May God cover you and your family in a light of peace during this difficult time (if the person is religious)

  • I have no words to express my sympathy please accept this hug instead (for someone close)

Another way to express your sympathy is to offer your sincere support. A few ways to do this is to:

Cook or bake something (Or buy some food from your local Market) When a family loses someone they aren't up for cooking. Friends and family can show their support and sympathy for the family by assisting in this area if you are comfortable doing so.


Make a Phone Call: And ask how you can be of service during this difficult time. Many people are reluctant to call and they use the reasoning that the family might not be ready to see anyone yet. But this is normally a cover for the person who is uncomfortable around sadness. Put your shyness aside and ask, and be prepared to follow through if accepted.


When you are at the funeral bring Kleenex, offer Kleenex to those sitting next to you who may be crying. I always keep a small pack of Kleenex on my person but for those who do not, if you are attending a funeral bring some along. This is a small way to offer your support that doesn't require words at all, Simply offer the tissue and allow those who need it to take it.

If you are a religious person, be sure to support the family through prayer, the phases of loss is a long walk. Keep the family in prayer.


Never by any means say anything rude or aggressive or intensive like;

  • I know how you feel.

  • It was their time.

  • You will get over this in time.

  • We all must go sometime

  • He/She is in a better place

You do not know the relationship dynamics between the person and the deceased although you may feel these statements are true they are harsh. Refrain from assuming, and dismissing how the person feels with these sentiments.


In the end, it's all about being sensitive and choosing your words wisely. We all need the love and support of our friends and family through difficult times such as this, try your best to refrain from making it about you, assuming, or being insensitive. It also depends on the relationship you have with the person who you are consoling. Sometimes saying nothing and simply offering a big hug is the best option.


Wishing you and your family love, prosperity, and safety.



By: Zakiyyah Shakir

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