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You Can Help Someone With Their Grief, Here’s How

Grief comes in many different forms and can be the result of a number of things. The stages of grief are not linear, and everyone navigates on their own time frame. Luckily, grief can be processed. 

Grief doesn’t have to be a solo journey for your loved one. Here is how you can help support them.

Be an Active Listener

After a person has experienced a traumatic event or a death of a loved one, the assumption is that they want to be left alone. Allow your loved one a safe space to talk about their story, in whatever detail they wish. 

Don’t worry if you have nothing to say. Listening can be the most important thing you can do. Actively listen to them tell their story without passing any judgment. Just being able to express themselves can start their journey to healing and your support can be invaluable. 

Talk About the Grief Inducing Situation

If your loved ones grief is related to the death of someone in their circle, help them talk about that person rather than avoid it. Recounting memories and the good times they shared can be comforting in a very uncomfortable time. Even speaking their name can elicit some positive memory. 

If it is about a traumatic experience they went through, provide comfort by acknowledging it happened. There is something healing and freeing in accepting the negative and processing it. 

Keep it Real and Honest

Nothing is more aggravating than being surrounded by people giving you generic platitudes. While it may seem helpful, it really can be off-putting in many regards. The reason is it invalidates current feelings and emotions someone is going through in the present moment. 

Be wary of providing fluff filler statements, especially those starting with “at least.” The person experiencing grief doesn’t necessarily need help finding a silver lining. When the time is right, they will reach this mental place in their own manner. 

Avoid the full positive spin to try to lighten the mood. Sometimes raw and honest feelings and conversations can help move along the grieving process. It can be a turn-off and create a wall they will later have a more challenging time overcoming. 

Respect Boundaries

Everyone grieves in their own way. What one person needs is not the same as the next person. So approaching a grieving person with a cookie-cutter solution is not the best method.

You can be supportive by just showing up and offering assistance. Be mindful of cues they may be giving off. Depending on the situation, they may not be able to dictate what they need or field questions for you to decipher that. 

Pay attention to the unstated boundaries, and don’t cross them. You may need to be more assertive but polite when offering support and/or assistance. 

Refrain from Being a Fixer

It is human nature to want to fix things, especially when someone you care about is suffering. Providing support to grieving people does not equate to fixing their problems. 

You aren’t going to take their pain away in one swoop, so don’t enter the conversation with that mentality. Acknowledge their pain and sit with them while they feel their emotions. None of this is about you, and trying to be a fixer inadvertently shifts that focus to you. Leave that hat at home. 

Limit Social Media Coverage

In the age of oversharing on social media platforms, be mindful of what you are posting. Whether the situation affects you or not, the person who is most directly impacted may not want to see things posted. 

It could have an adverse effect from the one you intended, thus amplifying their grief. 

If you have a loved one struggling with grief, schedule a consultation or encourage them to do the same to learn more about grief counseling.




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