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Supporting People Through Grief: Practical Tips for Lending Comfort


If you’ve ever experienced grief, you know how hard it can be to even think about seeking help from a friend or loved one—and yet, it’s often the support of others that enables us to get through trying times. Depending on the situation, it may be difficult—or even impossible—to provide tangible support. But there are so many ways to provide comfort to someone facing grief.

In this article, we will explore practical tips for lending comfort during times of suffering. Whether you’re looking for ways to support a family member or coworker going through a tough time or simply want to know how to show your love in a difficult moment, we’ll look at what you can do.

Above all else, remember that showing kindness and compassion is always the best place to start when supporting someone through grief. Let’s get started!

Listen Without Judgment

When it comes to helping someone overcome grief, being there for them is key. That doesn’t always mean saying the right thing or giving advice—it often means staying silent and just listening. Offer a supportive presence, and remember that it’s okay to not have the answers.

Listening without judgment is incredibly important. The person you’re speaking with may feel overwhelmed by the emotions of grief; asking probing questions or offering unsolicited advice can only make them feel worse. Encourage them to talk freely, knowing that whatever they’re feeling is okay, and don’t be afraid of silences or lapses in conversation—sometimes people just need a moment to collect themselves. Your job is to be understanding and let them take their time talking through things at their own pace.

Letting someone express their emotions without judgment can make an incredible difference in how supported they feel during this difficult time. Grief isn’t a process that you can rush through, so showing patience and compassion will go a long way in lending comfort and helping the person through this journey.

Offer Practical Support and Help Out

When someone you know is going through a time of grief, it can be difficult to know how to offer support. One of the best things you can do is offer practical support; little things may not seem like much, but they can go a long way in boosting your friend’s spirits.

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Offer to help with errands, such as grocery shopping, taking care of their pets, or helping them pay bills.
  • Cook meals for them and drop them off at their home.
  • Deliver supplies such as books and puzzles to help keep them occupied during their grieving process.
  • Help with cleaning tasks or lawn care at their home, if they are unable to manage it themselves.
  • Give them a listening ear over the phone or through video chat when they need someone to talk to.

These simple gestures of kindness will show your friend that you are there for them and willing to lend a helping hand however you can. You don’t have to spend money or wait for special occasions to show people that you care for them—sometimes, the most meaningful support comes from everyday acts of kindness.

Share Happy Memories

Reminiscing happy memories is a great way to help a loved one move forward. While it may be painful to remember, it can also be therapeutic and comforting. When meeting with someone who is grieving, make sure to ask questions that prompt the recalling of bright moments of their life with the deceased.

If you’re struggling to find the right words to say, consider asking questions such as:

  • What was your favorite memory together?
  • Can you tell me about a time that made you smile?
  • What was he/she like at family gatherings?

Let them share stories about the past without interruption or judgment—allowing them to connect with those memories in their own time. By doing this, you can remind them of their beautiful connection with the deceased and allow them to find some peace in remembering those cherished moments.

Spend Time Together

When someone is grieving, they can often feel incredibly alone—which is why spending time together can be an incredibly meaningful way of providing support.

This doesn’t have to mean having deep conversations or trying to solve the person’s problems—sometimes it’s enough just to be present, and for them to know that you are there for them.


Spend some time doing activities together like going for a walk, doing outdoor sports, or watching a movie. Doing something together can create a distraction from the grief, and give you something else to focus on in the moment.

Conversation starters

Sometimes it can be hard to start a conversation with someone who is grieving. Try using gentle conversation starters like “How are you feeling?” or “What are you looking forward to?” These questions give space for the other person to talk about their feelings and help them articulate their thoughts.

Listen and validate

Be open-minded when listening and try not to pass judgment on how the person is feeling or reacting—simply being there as they express their emotions can do wonders. Validate their feelings by expressing understanding—commenting phrases like “I hear you” and “It makes sense that X happened” can help make them feel heard and understood.

Offer Reassurance and Encourage Self-Care

When it comes to offering a friend or loved one comfort during a difficult time, the best thing you can do is lend an ear, give reassurance, and encourage self-care. Being there for someone who is grieving can be hard and overwhelming, but it can be easier if you take the necessary steps to make sure that your support is effective.

Here are a few practical tips on how you can lend comfort and support:

Listen without judgment

One of the best things you can do to help someone overcome an emotional challenge like grief is to just listen without passing judgment. This allows them to safely express their feelings without fear or criticism.

Offer your presence

Your presence alone can have an immense impact on their healing process. It’s reassuring to know that someone close to them cares and will be with them through it all, no matter how tough things get. Listening to their stories and understanding what they’re going through is a great start.

Encourage self-care

Encouraging your friend or loved one to practice self-care is also key during this difficult time. Make sure they’re getting adequate rest, nutrition, water and other activities like exercise or hobbies that bring them joy. Giving them space when needed but being available when wanted could make a world of difference in their mental health recovery journey.

Educate Yourself About the Grief Process

It can be difficult to know how to support someone in the early stages of grief. To do so, you should try to educate yourself about the grieving process. Grieving is a unique experience for each individual, but it can help to be aware of some of the common experiences that people often go through. There are five stages in the grieving process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It’s important to remember these stages may not happen in order and might not even happen at all for a given individual; they are simply an attempt to understand what someone going through grief might experience.

Additionally, it’s important to note that these stages don’t have specific timelines or durations. How long someone will remain in each stage is different for everyone and even for those who have experienced multiple losses. Knowing some of these stages can help you understand what someone might be going through and offer them support at different points throughout the grieving process.


Supporting someone through grief is a difficult but ultimately rewarding experience. Knowing how and when to offer comfort can be tricky, so it is important to understand and respect the individual’s needs.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach or right words when addressing someone’s grief. The best way to provide comfort is to focus on understanding, validating and honoring the individual’s feelings.

Find ways to show your support, whether it is through listening, providing practical assistance, or simply letting them know they are not alone. By being there for them, you can help them work through their grief and eventually come out the other side.

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