What Should You Say When Someone Dies?

When someone dies, it's appropriate to express sympathy with phrases such as, "I am sorry for your loss," or "You and your loved one are in my thoughts." It's equally appropriate to lend support to the people affected by that person's death with statements such as "I don't know how you feel, but I'm here to help if you need me."

After someone dies, it can be difficult to find the right words to say. When in doubt, simply offering a hug or spending time with the person affected by the death can offer comfort. Keep in mind that the goal is to be supportive and recognize the loss without trying to fix things, place a time line on grief or minimize the loss.

Avoid saying phrases such as "I know how you feel" or "He's in a better place," both of which don't acknowledge the other person's feelings. Other phrases to avoid include, "Be strong," or "At least he lived a long life," Instead, focus on the feelings of the other person. Try giving the other person permission to feel scared or sad by saying something like "You don't have to be brave right now." Alternatively, try sharing favorite memories or asking the other person about his favorite memories of the person who died.