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Sympathy and Condolence Advice

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How to write a sympathy note, share condolences, comfort and support the bereaved

When someone you care about is grieving, it's hard to find the right words.

What should you say in a condolence message? What common sympathy expressions should you avoid? What else can you do to comfort a bereaved friend?

To help you support a grieving colleague, friend or family member, offers advice from condolence experts.

Click on the links below to learn more about how to write condolence notes, what not to say and more.

Why Write Sympathy Notes?
Learn what to say when a friend's loved one dies – as well as why it's so important to say it.

Writing a Condolence Note
If you're not sure what to say – and you want to avoid saying the wrong thing – this article offers concrete tips on how best to express your condolences.

Comforting the Bereaved Through Supportive Listening
What mourners need most are listeners, and it can be hard to find them.


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What Not to Say After a Death
It's easy to say the wrong thing, even when you have the best intentions. Learn some of the sentiments to avoid when a friend is grieving.

Is "I'm Sorry" Becoming a Cliché?
Saying, “I’m sorry” or, “I’m sorry for your loss” has been an accepted way to extend condolences for just about forever.

What to Say to Someone Who Is Dying
Visiting a friend or loved one who has a terminal illness can be scary, but don't let nervousness keep you away. This article offers tips and support to help you make this important visit.

How to Write Condolences on Facebook
Facebook has become a major channel for your friends to share and mourn the death of their loved ones.

It's Never Too Late to Send a Sympathy Note
It's human nature to procrastinate, but you can still say what you need to say – even if it's long overdue.

Condolences When a Friendship Is Strained
You can still reach out and send condolences to the bereaved, even if your friendship has faltered.

Simple Ways to Show Sympathy
Showing your sympathy to a grieving friend is easy – and will be much appreciated. Learn which small gestures mean a lot.

Funeral Flower Messages: What to Say
By including a thoughtful message or card with the flowers, you can make one of life's most difficult experiences a bit easier to bear.


What Kind of Flowers Should I Buy for a Funeral?
We’ve created a guide to which sympathy flowers are often used to remember the most important people in our lives.


Feeling Guilty About Missing a Friend's Funeral
Missing a funeral can bring up a lot of emotions, but guilt shouldn't necessarily be one of them.


Funeral Etiquette
What is the difference between a memorial service and a funeral? What should I say to the deceased's family at the visitation? Does it matter what I wear? You have questions, we have answers.


Grief Support
Advice from leading experts, helpful information related to loss, and grief support groups to help you cope with the death of someone important to you.