Right Words to Say to Someone Going to a Funeral

Published July 31, 2020
Woman consoling grieving woman

Choosing the right words that you can say to someone who is going to a funeral doesn't need to be difficult. When you speak from the heart, you will always find the right words to say that can ease someone's pain when attending a funeral.

What to Say to Someone Going to a Funeral

You want to reassure someone going to a funeral that they can turn to you for support. There is nothing you can say that will take away their emotional pain, but you can let them know you are there for them.

  • "I'm so sorry for what you're going through."
  • "I know you're hurting, and I have a shoulder whenever you need it."
  • "I know it's really tough for you right now."
  • "Call me after the funeral and we can talk."
  • "You can call me any time of the day or night."
  • "Why don't you come over after the funeral? We can talk."
  • "I'm here for you."
  • "I really thought the world of [insert name] and miss her/him, too."
  • "I'm always available if you need to talk."
  • "This isn't fair, and I know you're hurting. I'm here for you."

Action and Words to Say

Your actions and words will convey your message to someone going to a funeral. Don't wait for the person to reach out to you. You need to reach out to the person.

Offer to Drive Them to the Funeral

You can show up at their home prior to the funeral with food and offer to drive them. You can say, "I'm here to drive you to the funeral and bring you home afterwards. I even brought us something to eat later on." This type of nurturing conveys so much to the person, meaning you don't need to say anything else.

Male friend opening car door

What to Say to a Business Colleague Going to a Funeral

When a coworker, boss or other business colleague is going to a funeral, you can offer the right words to let them know you care. You don't need to get personal with your condolences, just let the other person know you recognize they are going through a difficult time. A few words you can say include:

  • "I was so sorry to learn about your loss."
  • "I'll be thinking of you today."
  • "You're in my thoughts and prayers today."
  • "I'm so sorry you're going through this."
  • "Don't worry about work. I'm here and I'll cover for you."
  • "I'm here if you ever need to talk."
  • "I'm really sorry."
  • "I didn't know [insert name], but I know you were close. I'm so sorry for your loss."
  • "[Insert name] was a valuable team member. I'm so sorry for your loss."
  • "I only met your dad one time, but he seemed like a really good guy. I'm sorry for your loss.

What to Say to a Friend Going to a Funeral

If you have a close friend going to a funeral, you can show your support with the right words. The main thing you want to convey to your friend is that you're there for them.

  • "I'll always remember how your mom liked to tell ghost stories. I'm really going to miss her, too."
  • "Remember that crazy time when we were kids and your dad found us smoking cigarettes? He was so cool. Some dads would have freaked out. But not your old man. I really liked him."
  • "Your grandpa taught me how to fish. He was always so good to me. I'm going to miss him, too."
  • "I can't believe your mom is gone. I'm really going to miss her laughter."
  • "Why don't you spend the night with me tonight? We can order pizza and just chill."
  • "I know today is going to be the hardest thing you've ever done, but I'm right here with you, buddy. All the way."
  • "Your mom always liked that dress. I'm glad you're wearing it."
  • "Your brother was such a brave man. He made the world a better place."
  • "Your sister saved a lot of people. She was an amazing doctor. Everyone loved her."
  • "Your aunt will never be forgotten. We're all going to miss her."

What Not to Say to Someone Going to a Funeral

It's important that you remain sensitive to someone who is grieving. You want to avoid saying the wrong words by observing a few etiquette rules about things you should never say to someone in mourning. This includes saying things like:

  • "It's just pain, it won't kill you."
  • "At least [insert name] is no longer suffering."
  • "[Insert name] is in a better place."
  • "[Insert name] wouldn't want you crying over him/her."
  • "One day you'll see [insert name] again."
  • "Believe me, I know that things seem really bad right now, but they'll get better."
  • "I know you don't believe me, but that pain is going to go away."
  • "You don't know it now, but one day you'll look back on this and it won't hurt as much."
  • "No one can ever replace [insert name]."
  • "It's going to be okay. I promise."

Insensitive Attempts to Console

This type of inept attempts to comfort someone going to a funeral can backfire and cause the person more emotional pain. You want to weigh each word before you speak it to ensure you aren't being insensitive.

Woman talking to console her female friend

Don't Try to Put a Positive Spin on Death

There is no positive spin for death and grief. Certainly, you don't want the person to be upset. However, you must allow them to go through whatever emotional process they need in order to grieve.

Don't Talk About Your Own Grief

Sometimes people attempt to soothe another person's grief by sharing their own grief. This type of conversation, however well intended, can be too much and risks displacing the person's grief with yours. You don't need to share your experience(s) with grief in great detail.

Right Words to Let Someone Know You Understand

Instead of sharing your grieving experience, you can give the person a hug and tell them, "I lost my dad last year. I know how tough this is." This brevity lets the person know you understand what they are going through.

Right Words for Religious Peson Going to a Funeral

If you and the person going to a funeral share the same religion and you know the person takes comfort in their faith, you may offer words of their faith. If you know appropriate scripture, you can offer a verse that you feel will give them comfort and strength. Just be certain you understand the person well enough that they will receive these words as comforting.

Knowing What to Say to Someone Going to a Funeral

If you put yourself in the other person's place, you can quickly understand the right words to say to someone going to a funeral. This perspective will keep you from saying something inappropriate.

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Right Words to Say to Someone Going to a Funeral