How do you help a grieving friend?

What’s the best way to help a grieving friend – Give them advice? Cheer them up? Remind them that life is for the living?

Ack! No!

It’s so hard to know what to do when your friends are hurting. The thing is, you can’t cheer someone up by telling them to look on the bright side, or by giving them advice. It just doesn’t work. Watch this video to learn the one thing that will improve all of your “I’m here for you” intentions, and be that supportive friend you most want to be.

(note: there are subtitles in Spanish, Arabic, Dutch, French, Norwegian, and English. Click the gear icon at the bottom of the video frame to turn on and select subtitles)

When we talk about the skills needed to support a grieving friend, we’re not just talking about grief related to death. These are the kinds of skills we need for all of life’s hardships, from small everyday losses to life altering ones.⁣⁣

It’s so tempting to tell someone to look on the bright side, or suggest they “practice gratitude” or think about happier times. It’s harder – and so much more effective – to let their pain exist. ⁣

When you hear pain in the world, what are the sorts of things that jump immediately to your lips? Even with everything I know, my impulse is still something along the lines of “you’ve got this. This is hard, and you’ve got this.” Seems ok on the surface, but really? It’s just another way to dismiss someone’s pain. ⁣

Watch this video and then share it on all your favorite platforms (be sure to tag @refugeingrief so we can see!). Working together, we can help everyone learn the skills they need to be kind, supportive, and amazing. Want more cool ways to change the whole culture into a sleek, compassionate love-machine? Join the Grief Revolution over here.

And remember to check out the monthly Writing Your Grief course – it’s the best place I know to be seen and heard inside your grief. We’ve got room for you.

How about you? What are your habitual responses when someone you care about is hurting? If you’ve got something you’re using instead – like, “I’m sorry to hear that. Want to tell me about it?” – let us know in the comments!