How do I comfort my friend

How to help when a friend is in grief?

TIP 1: Accept your limits.
You cannot relieve your friend of the grief. There is nothing you can do to spare him the grief. It is part of suffering a loss and is a way of adjusting to the new situation.

TIP 2: Ask specifically.
If you don't know how to help your friend, ask him or her. Make specific suggestions as to what you could or could do for him. Everyone grieves differently and what they need from those around them usually changes with the duration of the grief. So it is important that you ask again and again.

TIP 3: Talk about your feelings.
If you feel overwhelmed, talk to your friend about it. Better than withdrawing without a word. If you want to be there for him, the first step is to convey to him that you know that this is a difficult time for him and that you are there for him.

TIP 4: Be there for him and just listen to him.
First of all, he doesn't need any advice. Refrain from telling him that you know how he is doing, in the end only he can know and feel. Avoid comments such as:

  • Better times will come again.
  • Look ahead. Life goes on.
  • We all have to die sometime.

Just listen patiently to your friend even if they keep telling the same thing over and over.

TIP 5:Accept if he doesn't want to talk about his feelings.
Some mourners avoid everything that has to do with the deceased in conversation - mostly for fear of losing their composure. They just want to get through the day. If your friend chooses this route, then only plan activities together. Maybe it will open up later.

TIP 6: Maintain rituals.
Call him at certain times. There is something reliable about rituals. He will then know that you are calling, and you will not "forget" your friend either.

TIP 7: Involve your friend in activities.
During the mourning phase it can be helpful for the mourner to be distracted from time to time and to experience that life goes on. So stay on the ball - even if you often get a basket - and keep trying to encourage him to take part in small activities.

TIP 8: Recommend that your friend take part in a grief management group.
This can be the contact to a grief coping group at his place of residence or to a group on the Internet. When he is with other people affected, he no longer has the feeling of being alone with his grief and can experience that other people have feelings and reactions similar to him. Accompanying a grieving friend is not easy. It may push you to your limits. At the same time, a common crisis can also strengthen their friendship. You can develop together with your friend.

Letter to the Editor:My best friend's husband was killed in a car accident. After it seemed like she got over it well, she is now withdrawing completely. I'm very sorry for her, she is only 42 years old and already a widow. I am completely helpless as to how I can help her.

Dr. Doris Wolf answers:An unexpected loss at a young age destroys the entire life plan. After your friend has completed the formalities (informing the authorities and insurance companies, autopsy, funeral), she probably only realized the full significance of this dramatic event. It's a completely normal process. Those affected are initially in shock or function like a robot. After that, their feelings break open. You feel desperate, hopeless, lonely, full of fear and guilt, or also feel anger. On the way through grief, they usually slowly come to the point of finding a new perspective on life. As a friend, it is first important for you to take care of your own feelings.

You cannot support your girlfriend if you are afraid of feeling sad yourself or if you doubt that such a situation can be dealt with. You can help your friend by giving her a right to her feelings. Allow her to fluctuate, cry, fear, or be bitter. It is best to offer very specific support. Ask what exactly she needs from you. For example, buy her something, take her to the cemetery or prepare a meal for her. Expect she to behave unfairly or irritably towards you from time to time and forgive her for that. Encourage her that you will come out of the crisis.

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