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Finding the right words of sympathy to say in the event that a friend or a family member has lost a loved one is a difficult task to undertake. It is far too easy to end up saying the wrong thing, and when we do so, we might end up hurting and offending those whom we wished to comfort.

When your heart wants to reach out to someone whom you know is hurting because of the loss of a loved one, just how do you find the right words of sympathy to show that you share his or her loss? Here are a few pointers that can help you along.

1. Avoid clichés. A cliché is a phrase that is so overused that it has come to lose its meaning. When you attempt to give words of sympathy to someone who was bereaved, try to avoid saying phrases like “Time heals all wounds” or “I know how you feel” or “Life goes on.” These phrases are now seen as meaningless and come off as insincere.

2. Keep it simple. Most of the time, a simple phrase is enough to express to the bereaved that you share his or her loss. Simple phrases like “I’m sorry for your loss” are often enough to convey what you mean.

3. Share your happy memories of the departed. If you know the person who passed away, you can include in your words of sympathy a few stories and anecdotes about the departed with the ones he or she has left behind. In sharing your happy memories about the one who passed away, you have the power to ease the sadness and the loss that the others may be feeling.

4. Do not give unsolicited advice. One mistake that people make in giving words of sympathy is that they sometimes add pieces of advice about moving on without being asked for them. Those who were bereaved will deal with their grief in their own time and in their own way.

5. Make an open offer of help when needed. Instead of giving unsolicited advice, one thing you can do is to make an open offer of help to the bereaved. Offering your shoulder for the bereaved to cry on or your ear to listen to what he or she has to say whenever he or she needs it is a kind gesture that will be highly appreciated.

6. Consider a tribute or sympathy card. These are often very well written and it is a effective way a communicating your feelings by taking advantage of the card writer’s abilities.

Aside from offering your sympathy at a funeral, you can also try to listen with empathy with what they have to say. People who have experienced a great loss often try to process their loss by talking about it. You can listen with an emphatic ear to help them ease their pain.


You may not know what to say when you give a sympathy card at funerals. Or, you may be on the other side, and not know what to write on the funeral thank you card. These emotional times are difficult for everyone, and you want to send the appropriate message.

First of all, never use a message such as “I know what you are going through” or “I know what you must be feeling” unless you truly do. If you have never experienced a situation similar, you do not know what they are going through, and it is the wrong thing to say.

If you are the one who is grieving and are at a loss as to what message to send on your thank you cards, it absolutely does not have to be anything elaborate. All of your friends know you are grieving, and they don’t expect an essay. A simple “Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers” or “Thank you for your caring and support during this difficult time” is sufficient. People don’t expect to get a page-length personal letter from you.

Sympathy cards for funerals mean exactly that – a way to express your sympathy. Find Sympathy Phrases. Often times, people feel that they don’t know how to express their grief to the family of the deceased. Think about this for a moment, you really are probably not experiencing grief, so what you need to show is sympathy! It is that simple. There is no need to pretend or be something other than how you truly feel. Express your sympathy in your funeral cards.

Other appropriate messages you can use for your sympathy cards at funerals may include things like “I’m here for you if you need me.” Simple, but so heartfelt. This is all many people who are grieving need to hear. It helps them to know that people really do care, and are there in a time of need. You may want to write a simple “I’m so sorry, let me know if there is anything I can do to help.”

People so often try to make things much more difficult than they really are. Simplicity works when it comes to thank you cards for funerals as well. Whether you are the giver or receiver of a card, just remember to say what you truly feel, and don’t try to make it any more elaborate than needed. Writing words of sympathy for funerals does not have to be a difficult task. Let the bereaved know that they are in your thoughts, and that you are there if they need anything at all.

This is perfect etiquette for funeral cards, and you need not feel embarrassed or awkward as long as you write a sympathetic, heartfelt message that truly comes from within you.