How do you help a grieving friend?
How to Comfort a Grieving Friend
When a friend is grieving, it can be tempting to offer more than a listening ear and to try and prod them into releasing their feelings. However, it's not a friend's place to force talk or discussion of grieving; the place for a friend is to be understanding, to hold a hand without talking and to be there as needed, without judgment or pressure. Comforting a grieving friend may require restraint on your behalf but it's well worth the effort to be of help to your friend.
Comforting a friend after a family member's death
Let your friend know that you're there for them without conditions or expectations.This is a difficult time for your friend and they need a lot of understanding. Avoid pressuring your friend to talk or discuss their feelings. It is far better to let your friend know that you are available if needed than to force them to talk to you about what has happened.
- Don't pressure your friend or keep on asking how they feel. It's self-evident that they don't feel great.
Give your friend space.A quiet, non-talkative and tearful friend is still your friend but one likely to need his or her own space and time to process the emotions.
Avoid telling your friend how to behave during grief.Being told that there is a right and wrong way to feel through actions, statements and generalizations can be painful during the first stages of grieving, so try to keep your thoughts about grief to yourself and simply affirm that their feelings are valued, real and respected.
Be a source of cheer and helpfulness.This doesn't mean telling them they'll get over it soon! It means doing things more than saying things, bustling about in the background and being helpful by doing the things that need to be done. Things that you can help with include:
- Bringing over meals, tidying the house a little, doing some shopping for your friend, etc.
- Helping with funeral arrangements or contact people and companies to tidy up loose ends.
- Babysitting or pet-sitting to give your friend a break now and then.
- Taking your friend out for a day, away from all of the reminders.
Avoid bringing your own problems to your friend.This isn't a good time to be loading off your problems onto your friend. He or she is in a fragile place right now and cannot be the usual sounding board you may have come to rely upon. Seek the help of another friend for this purpose, until your grieving friend feels whole again.
Know when to step away.Sometimes your friend will push you away. Go away without taking it personally. Realize that it is the grief talking and the grief acting out. Your friend may feel too overwhelmed to cope with the acts of friendship for the moment. Agree to back off for a bit but let your friend know it's temporary, and that the moment they need you again, just to call.
Comforting friends after a friend is lost to suicide
Realize that all of your group of friends is likely to be hurting and somewhat shaken.When someone decides to take their own life and is part of a tight-knit group, it deeply affects the people for whom they were so close to. They can feel as if their circle has been broken.
Seek to get a debriefing for all of the friends in your group.This isn't something you should handle alone without suitable help. A school counselor, a therapist or some other person trained to assist with this challenging situation must be called upon for advice.
Deal with your own feelings before trying to help others.You have been impacted too and this will make it harder for you to act in a role of supporting your other friends. It is important, no matter how strong and protective you feel, that you also get help for your feelings and emotional outfall from the event.
- It is understandable that you want to help when you care deeply for your remaining friends but don't neglect yourself in the process.
Devise a buddy network between each of you.Make it clear who is available at any time should any friend of the group need to talk, let feelings out or just be around someone. Be there for one another so that the emptiness, despair and black feelings can be dealt with rather than swallowing up an individual.
Use a calm and concerned tone at all times.Helping all of your friendship group to remain calm is an important approach to helping everyone feel that they can cope.
Let your friends know that you are available to help things continue as normal as possible.Defuse any situation for them that may make them uncomfortable. Allow them to gather among themselves and grieve in their own way, in their own time.
Recognize that this is a tragedy and that others will be notified in the proper manner.It is imperative that you remain sensitive, and do not use electronic media such as Facebook to contact or notify anyone without the family's authorization.
Video: GRIEF | HOW TO COMFORT SOMEONE WHO IS GRIEVING
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