Knowing the right thing to say to a friend or coworker who has experienced a personal loss doesn’t come easily. It’s a skill we’re not taught, as many societies generally avoid talking about death and grieving. And the less experience we’ve had with these situations, the less obvious it is whether we’re helping or hurting.
In a recent New York Times “Crowdwise” column, David Pogue offers the following pointers, “brought to you by people who’ve been on the receiving end”:
What should you say instead? “I wish I had the right words;” “I know how much you loved her;” or, simply, “I’m so sorry” are appropriate. If you knew the person well, telling the mourner a story about their loved one can be a great gift—especially at a time when they thought there would be no more stories. (Tweet it!)
If you have experienced a personal loss, what expressions of empathy meant the most to you and why? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
If you would like to learn more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our online learning programs.