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Practical Ways To Support A Grieving Friend

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When a friend loses a loved one, being there for them can be a delicate task. You need patience, compassion, and understanding to help them process the loss and cope with the heartbreak. Sometimes, you don’t know what to say in the midst of comfort. Grief has many stages and it is an individual experience everyone deals with uniquely. Some withdraw while others spiral. It is essential to show up for your friend in a sensitive manner and recognise how their grief manifests itself. While being a shoulder to cry on can be a great way to support them, here are other ways to help them navigate through a difficult time.

  1. Accept their mood swings 

Grief has many phases; there is a moment of denial, which is quickly followed by anger, guilt, and deep sadness. During these times, your friend might act in ways that are completely out of character. You will need to sympathise and understand that they are going through an emotional roller-coaster that comes with great pain and sometimes numbness. There will be more lows than highs, so try not to take any negative action or speech personally. Instead, listen to them and validate their feelings when they vent to you. If you begin to feel overwhelmed or triggered by their emotions, consider encouraging them gently to talk to a professional or adopt self-care habits to deal with your pent-up emotions.

  1. Help them make funeral arrangements 

Helping to arrange a funeral for a loved one is a difficult task, especially when your friend is overwhelmed with grief. Your assistance will be deeply appreciated. However, it’s essential to respect their wishes and preferences while supporting them. This could involve speaking to funeral directors on their behalf, coordinating the funeral location with event planners, or arranging accommodation for distant family and friends. Remember to give your friend as much autonomy as possible and maintain transparency and open communication throughout the process. 

  1. Avoid giving advice 

As mentioned before, grief is a very personal experience. You cannot tell someone how to go about it, so avoid advising unless you have been asked to. Though it is necessary to keep your friend from going down the path of destruction in a challenging time, it is imperative to do it with grace and empathy. Avoid telling them they will get over it soon. Sometimes, all they need is for you to sit in silence with them. When they don’t want to get out of bed, refrain from giving them a pep talk and offer to cook for them or help out with a chore. You should also give them space if they want to be alone, checking up on them from time to time. Be an example of strength and resilience. With time, they will gather the courage to live again and move on with their lives. 

Everyone needs someone to support them when they are at our lowest. With these tips, you can show up for your friends when they go through life-altering situations.  

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