How to Give Space to a Grieving Friend

Posted on February 28, 2022 by Bevis Funeral Home under Dealing with Loss, Grief Support
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During times of grief, some people find it hard to accept comfort and company from those they love most. In these instances, it’s difficult to know how to best support them. Thankfully, there are still things you can do to reach out, even if your loved one is pulling away. Here are three ways to give space to a grieving friend while still being there to support them.

Go at Their Pace

If your friend does not want to talk about their loss, it is not your place to push him or her to do so. It’s helpful to remember, however, that just because they do not want to talk about it right now does not mean that they will always feel that way. Grief is a complicated journey, and one that each person experiences differently. One way you can give space to a grieving friend is by letting them set the pace with what they are comfortable talking about.

Sometimes that might mean having a long, intense conversation about how they are feeling. Other times, it might mean sitting together in silence. Pay attention to your friend’s verbal and non-verbal cues, and try to talk about things at their pace, not yours. Some people might feel comfort in sharing how they are feeling immediately after the loss of a loved one, while others may first need some time to heal.

Speak Openly

When someone in your life is grieving, it can be tempting to avoid saying words like “death” out loud. It can feel as though avoiding the topic entirely is a helpful way to give space to a grieving friend. While it’s sometimes appropriate to use formalities such as “I’m sorry for your loss,” it can begin to feel unauthentic when speaking to a close friend or family member, and can be more harmful than helpful. Using the name of the deceased, and speaking specifically about their death, is not something to be afraid of doing. If anything, it can be helpful if your friend is tired of people beating around the bush.

This doesn’t mean you should bring their loved one’s death up in every conversation, however. Use tact and be thoughtful in when and how you ask your friend how he or she is doing.

Keep Reaching Out

It can be discouraging when a grieving friend continues to shut you out. Just as it’s important to let them set the pace, however, it’s important to keep reaching out to him or her. Even if you are not talking frequently or spending time together, you are offering your support just by letting them know you are there. Some people push everyone in their lives away when grieving, just to end up feeling lonely and isolated when they emerge from the fog of grief.

Try to find the right balance between respecting your friend’s wishes to be left alone and letting them know that you are there if and when they are ready to talk. An occasional text to check in is a practical way to give a grieving friend space without intruding on their privacy.

What Matters Most

It’s completely normal to want to help when you see a friend struggling with grief. Just as everyone grieves differently, however, everyone has different needs when it comes to grief support. Learning to maintain the balance between being there for a friend and giving them the space they need can be difficult, but it can make all the difference when it comes to being there for someone you love.

Bevis Funeral Home is here for you and your loved one during this difficult time. Click here for more grief and healing resources.

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