What Are Some Words of Condolence for Friends and Family Members?

Words of condolence include "Please accept my deepest sympathies," "Our prayers and thoughts are with you and your family in this time of loss" and "I hope peace, strength and comfort surround you as you walk through this trying time." Use these phrases to open or close a condolence note.

When offering words of condolence to family or friends, express honest, sincere feelings toward the bereaved. Use sincere wording to express sorrow and compassion to the family member or friend. Offer memories of the deceased, or mention good qualities, such as "She was a wonderful listener" or "I remember fondly fishing with your Dad last summer."

Avoid comments that might inadvertently add more pain to the grieving person. Speak from the heart, but be careful not make the situation worse by dwelling on death or calling it a "blessing in disguise." Phrases like "He's better off now," "You'll get over this loss soon" or "At least you had time to prepare" can make the surviving family member or friend feel worse by minimizing the situation. Additionally, refrain from saying "I know how you feel" because while the death experience may be similar, no two people grieve the same way. Speak honestly and from the heart, but choose words that are not a burden to the bereaved.