How to Help a Grieving Friend

Do’s and Don’ts from Ele’s Place Kids

DO

  • Make a card for your friend
  • Go to the funeral
  • Ask if your friend wants to talk about the person who died
  • Be a good listener when your friend talks about the loss – even if you don’t know what to say
  • If you knew the person who died, talk with your friend about good memories of that person
  • Invite your friend to do something fun with you
  • Include your friend in activities
  • Treat your friend the same as always
  • Understand that your friend might have good days and bad days
  • Be patient and forgiving when your friend is upset or seems different
  • Ask what you can do to help
  • Remember that holidays and special days might be difficult for your friend, and ask how he or she is doing
  • Say, “I don’t know how you feel, but I care and I’ll try to understand.”
  • Tell your friend it’s OK if he or she cries
  • If you feel worried or sad about the death in your friend’s family, talk with your parent or another adult

DON’T

  • Don’t tease or joke about the death or about the person who died
  • Don’t ask a lot of questions
  • Don’t treat your friend “special”
  • Don’t change the subject if your friend wants to talk about the person who died
  • Don’t say “I know how you feel.”
  • Don’t make fun of your friend if he or she cries