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Condolence Etiquette

Dear Sugar
A few days ago, my friend's family member passed away. The problem is, I don't know how he was related to her, or who he even is. How can l show my condolences for this man's passing?

I just found out about it today, and we aren't the best of friends, but I'd like to do something for her. Should I send a card or call her? But how do I address the relative in the note? Stumped Stephie

Dear Stumped Stephie
A card would be the best way to express your condolences. Write something heartfelt such as:

Dear Friend,
I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I am here if you or your family need anything at all - nothing is too small. My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.
Stumped Stephie

I think that calling right now may be too intrusive. Sending a note is passive and let's her know that she is on your mind.

Join The Conversation
dancemiadance dancemiadance 11 years
thanks so much everyone! i mailed a card and i'm workin on the cookies. y'all helped a lot. ((stumped stephie))
lacoste1 lacoste1 11 years
The note idea is great. Maybe a homemade plate of chocolate chip cookies would be nice, too. Maybe not, I just like cookies. When my grandpa died (Mom's dad) I remember people bringing over meals, and even small things and what not, and my mom was overjoyed to know how much people care.
vmruby vmruby 11 years
jamie- i hear ya on this one iv'e been there and done that. i lost my dad almost 9 yrs ago and i still miss him.
PrincessPixie PrincessPixie 11 years
The most important thing is to respect their distance, which this note does, Dearsugar, are you Lisa?
My-Opinion My-Opinion 11 years
I agree jennifer76., I know I wanted people to tell me how much they loved my dad and just hold me and let me cry with them and then just go and sit over there and understand. I've been on both sides way too many times.
jennifer76 jennifer76 11 years
Um, I want to clarify that I don't necessarily mean show up on their doorstep. I just mean make yourself available.
jennifer76 jennifer76 11 years
Great note, Dear! The thing to remember is that a grieving person has dealt with this situation from the other side before, too - they KNOW how awkward you feel. And they really appreciate that you're willing to feel uncomfortable and useless just to try to be there for them. So don't worry about saying the perfect thing - just show up!
heatherp heatherp 11 years
sometimes offering to talk to the person is helpful. when things cool down, a call is always appreciated. a greiving person often just wants to express her feelings.
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