As sad as it is to say, life does not always go in the direction that we want it to go. In the process of doing the things we love and trying to make the most out of our existence, things happen. Sometimes, we lose our loved ones. Sometimes we get our hearts broken. You might not be going through it right now, but the chances are that your friend might be. In these painful moments, you need to be able to comfort your grieving friend.
It goes beyond the usual “ehya” and “sorry, bro.” In fact, these two phrases rarely have any real effects on those you are trying to help. If you truly want to comfort your grieving friend, you have to do so much more than just uttering phrases.
Five Tips to Help Comfort a Grieving Friend
Do not expect them to simply “get over it.”
The loss of a loved one or the end of a relationship can be deeply traumatizing. This is largely so because of the bonds that were formed with the person. As such, when it happens, you can’t just expect your friend to forget about it and move on. It might take longer than expected but ensure that during that period, you support them instead of unhealthily pressuring to them to let it go.
Understand the stages of grief
One thing you probably are never taught in school is that there are five stages of grief. All these stages are perfectly normal, and your grieving friend has to go through all of them if s/he is to come out of this a better, stronger person. The stages are:
- Denial – refusing to accept the situation.
- Bargaining – trying to get back what was lost.
- Acceptance – finally letting go and moving on.
Understand these stages and support your friend through all of them. Especially in the anger stage, the last thing you should do is to take it personally.
Do not heap empty praises
One thing that’s becoming increasingly popular today is that people try to support by offering empty praises. Phrases like “you’re strong,” or “you’re the most resilient person I know” don’t always work. If they are untrue, you’d be lying to your friend in their weakest moment. Even worse, if your friend is highly rational, they’ll most likely see through the façade and become even more agitated.
Check on them consistently
Don’t be that friend who pays a visit once, spends a few hours and disappears for another month. If you want to comfort a grieving friend, always check up on them. Don’t do it in excess such that you become a nuisance. You could just shoot a quick but sincere text two to three times a week. A phone call, too, would be nice. Just ensure you ask after them often.
If your friend has lost someone or something or has had their heart broken, it is up to you to help them get over it. This could be a relatively daunting task if you aren’t able to cope with emotions naturally. However, they’re your friends. Abandoning them isn’t an option!