10 things NOT to say to someone grieving

10 things NOT to say to someone grieving

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through. During these times of grief, it's important to offer support and comfort to those who are mourning. However, it's also crucial to be mindful of the things we say to someone who is grieving. Words have the power to either provide solace or inflict further pain, so it's important to choose them wisely.

Here are 10 things NOT to say to someone who is grieving:

  1. "I know exactly how you feel." This statement, although well-intentioned, can come across as dismissive of the individual's unique experience of grief. Instead of assuming you understand their pain, try saying, "I can't imagine how hard this must be for you, but I'm here for you."

  2. "They're in a better place now." While this sentiment may be comforting to some, others may find it alienating or dismissive of their pain. Instead of focusing on the afterlife, offer support and love in the present moment.

  3. "You need to be strong for your family." Grief is a deeply personal experience, and there is no right or wrong way to process it. Encouraging someone to suppress their emotions and put on a brave face can do more harm than good. Instead, let them know it's okay to feel their feelings and offer a listening ear.

  4. "You should be over it by now." Grieving is a process that takes time, and there is no timeline for healing. Implying that someone should be "over" their loss only adds pressure and guilt. Instead, offer patience and compassion as they navigate their grief journey.

  5. "At least they lived a long life." Minimizing someone's pain by pointing out the positive aspects of the situation can invalidate their feelings. Every loss is significant, regardless of the circumstances. Instead, acknowledge their pain and offer a listening ear.

  6. "You'll get over it eventually." Loss leaves a permanent void in our lives, and the pain of grief may never fully disappear. Instead of focusing on "getting over" the loss, offer support and companionship as they navigate their new reality.

  7. "Everything happens for a reason." This phrase can be triggering for those who are grieving, as it implies there is a purpose behind their pain. Instead of trying to find meaning in the loss, focus on offering love and support in the present moment.

  8. "You should be grateful for the time you had with them." While gratitude can be a healing practice, it's essential to acknowledge that grief is a complex and multifaceted emotion. Encouraging someone to feel grateful can dismiss their pain and prevent them from fully processing their grief. Instead, offer a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on.

  9. "You need to move on." Everyone processes grief in their own way and at their own pace. Pushing someone to "move on" before they are ready can be harmful and counterproductive. Instead, offer support and understanding as they navigate their emotions. 

  10. "Let me know if you need anything." While this statement comes from a place of care and concern, it puts the burden on the grieving individual to ask for help. Instead of waiting for them to reach out, take proactive steps to show your support. Offer to bring them a meal, run errands, or provide a listening ear without waiting for them to ask.

With all that being said, the words we choose to offer comfort to someone who is grieving can have a significant impact on their healing journey. By being mindful of what we say and how we say it, we can create a safe space for them to express their emotions and process their pain. It's essential to offer unconditional support, empathy, and love during these difficult times. Remember, actions speak louder than words, so be there for them in tangible ways, showing your support through your actions.

You can ALWAYS check out my cards that I offer at www.butterfliesandhalos.com.  I have written a card for all 10 of these statements.  I've said the things you WANT to say and I've said it from a griever, so I definitely understand what NOT to say. 

Remember, we are all trying to move through the motions of life.  When life hands someone a bag of "shit", before speaking, remember Butterflies + Halo's and together we will be better for the griever you are acknowledging.  


  • "I thought you'd be over it by now"
  • "People have been through worse"
  • "Buck Up" - (oh, I will *uck YOU up :) 
  • "We all have problems"
  • "I know how you feel"
  • "God never gives you more than you can handle"
  • "It was their time"
  • "At least you're young. You can have another one" - (F YOU)
  • "Look on the bright side" 


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.