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If that's All You Can Say, Then Say Nothing!

This morning’s edition of Reader’s Digest contains an article titled, “7 Things You Should Never Say at a Funeral,” and I was not surprised to find Anne reading it when I popped into her office.

I remember Anne telling me that we need to have compassion for everyone at funerals because people don’t know that what they are saying is inappropriate.

If you research "funeral etiquette," as we did, you will find that most sites suggest that you say, “I am sorry for your loss, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family,” and nothing more.

But, saying, “I am sorry for your loss ...” isn’t right for everyone. Several years ago, Anne was surprised to be told,

If that’s all you can say, then say nothing at all. I am so tired of people saying that to me, it’s just a cliché.”

And, when you see a long list of, "I am sorry for your loss" comments following a Facebook obituary post, you can appreciate the comment.

This is where the Reader’s Digest article is helpful as it includes some alternatives as shown in the table. Here you can see suggestions for offering comfort to someone who has suffered a loss, without offending them.

I hope this is helpful the next time you find yourself in a situation where you want to offer comfort when someone is grieving.


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