How To Support Friends Who Are Grieving

The grieving process can make you feel sluggish and under the weather, similar to depression. Because grief is such a personal experience, those around us may feel uncertain about their role, or how to offer support. We may also feel uncomfortable asking for help, just like when we’re sick or feeling depressed. However, the best way to move through the tired, mud-like state of grief is to discuss our feelings with those closest to us. Similarly, if a friend or loved one is experiencing grief, it’s good to know how to help, especially when the friend is reaching out for support. I recently experienced a very painful loss in my life, and I only found true peace and healing with the help of those around me. Because of my friends, I learned how I want to show up for my loved ones who experience the tedious grieving process in the future. Below are some ways that my friends showed up for me after my recent loss.1. Don’t wait for your friend to reach outIf your friend has suffered a loss, reach out to them. Depending on your relationship, a text may feel the most appropriate, but a phone call is always a warm and kind way to offer support. If the friend is not ready to discuss their pain yet, that’s okay. They will let you know if and when they’re ready to talk.Try not to hesitate in reaching out in some capacity, as a gesture of support. The sooner a person feels they have support, the sooner they can feel like they are not alone as they navigate grief and move towards healing.2. Ask questionsAgain, grief is such a personal and difficult experience that, as a friend or loved one, it may be hard to know what to say. Simply asking questions is a wonderful way to open the door for a friend. Create a safe space for them to discuss what they are going through.Start with questions like: How are you caring for yourself during this time?What can I do to help?Who else have you been able to talk to?How are others that are grieving from this doing? These questions invite closeness and a sense that it is okay to talk about the many layers.3. Show up in person and listenBe with your friend or loved one as a shoulder to cry on and as a warm body to hold. Sit with your friend, make a mug of tea, and let them share all of their feelings—the sadness and deepest experiences within their grief state.This presence and intimacy with a friend going through grief can greatly help their heart to heal. To be heard and openly share the thoughts swarming around during the various stages of grief is so necessary for healing. In these moments of closeness, there may even be an opportunity for joy and laughter amidst heaviness.4. Offer to have check-insIt may be hard to physically be with a friend going through grief, especially if you have a long-distance friendship. Schedule phone check-ins to continue helping your friend discuss what they are going through.



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