Expressing Condolences in English - Advance English lesson
How to express condolences on the occasion of a death sincerely and tactfully
It is always difficult to convey condolences over loss sincerely and tactfully. Especially if you have to do it in person. There are certain forms of etiquette, thanks to which communication will go smoothly, despite the tragedy of the moment. We hope our tips will help you to stand up and show your best sides.
Examples words of condolences
To find the right expressions, you need to collect your thoughts and look inside yourself.
Don't try to hide behind dry clichés, but don't get too emotional. Never use swear words in speech.
If you have to express condolences in writing, avoid exclamation marks. Be short and straightforward - the person is gone forever, and this cannot be hidden by any softening expressions.
How official your appeal will be depends on the specific case, but it is imperative to end it with a question, how you can help.
In both writing and speaking, you can use the following text as an example:
- A wonderful person has left. I send my condolences to you and your entire family at this sad and difficult moment;
- I mourn your loss. I know this is a hard blow for you;
- I was told that your brother is dead. I'm sorry and I send you my condolences;
- I want to express my deep regret for the death of your father. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.
When it is customary to express condolences
Time, like words, also matters. You should be tactful with the loved ones of the deceased.
Usually, those who want to express regret over someone's death are concerned about two points: will I prevent the mourners and is it too late (too early) to address now?
The first point is psychological. Sometimes, there is no experience in such conversations, or you are afraid to enter a house that was recently visited by death, or you did not get along with his family during the life of the deceased ... Most often, people just harass themselves, feeling that they have to come or call, but are afraid to see someone else's grief and do not know how to behave in such a situation.
The second point concerns moral behavior. Is it possible to call the family of the deceased as soon as you find out the black news? Is it worth waiting for the funeral to support his family there? And if you were not invited either to the funeral or to the commemoration, then when will you come with condolences? Will it be late in a week?
Whatever it is for youdifficult and scary, you have to show up or call when you feel that this is expected of you. For example, a friend, relative, or neighbor needs consolation. In addition, if you know that your presence or a few nice words on the phone will cheer the person up, you should do it according to the principle, if not me, then who.
You may not be best friends, perhaps you have not been in this family for a long time, but sometimes you need support from outsiders, especially if the grieving person is lonely and unprotected. These can be pensioners, widows, orphans, young mothers with an infant, or simply reserved people who find it difficult to count on help.
Do not be overly embarrassed. Even if you are received detached or asked to be short and leave, then at least your behavior will be correct.
Still, most mourners need and expect visitors and calls. If you are close to them, call as soon as you hear about the grief. If they are not very close, the arrival or call in the first three days after the funeral is more formal.
In a week at most, it is customary to bring condolences from employees from work, and if you apply even later, then prepare a short excuse (did not know, were in another country, etc.).
What you can't say
The worn-out phrases that you can get off with if a friend just has another trouble, are categorically not suitable during the period of grief for the deceased.
To avoid hurting the bereaved, common mistakes should be avoided:
- Don't call Don't cry , Calm down , Stop grieving . A person should not feel guilty for their grief. Otherwise, he will simply think that you did not appreciate his grief and do not want to see him in tears and sadness.
- Don't console with words like Think about yourself , You're not dead yet , You will find other , You still have children . Such phrases also devalue the loss, taking away the right to grieve for the deceased. Consider the fact that even if the widow does manage to get married again, now is not the time to think about replacing her deceased spouse. Even if he wasn't exemplary, it doesn't matter.
- Do not judge the deceased with the alleged consolations of the type He should not drink / smoke / go to surgery , We felt that it would end badly , Workaholics burn out quickly or Addicts always have a sad end . The reaction to your words will be fair anger, because death erases all the mistakes of the deceased. Death may be the result of his pernicious addictions, but this is always too heavy a payback, from which it hurts now the relatives of the deceased. They have no time for your consolations and condemnations.
- Don't lie that you know how the grieving person is now. Even if you suffered a loss at one time, it is correct to talk about it with those who have already gone through all the stages of sadness. With these words, you can try to get closer to a stranger in order to inspire more confidence, they say, you are united by a common grief. But right after the funeral it is impossible to talk about your similar grief - for the grieving person this is still an unlived experience, and such consolations are only annoying.
- The phrase There are those who are even harder now is simply murderous for orphans, widowers and widows, for those who have lost a friend or brother. The usual reaction to this is: It doesn't make it easier for me! - quite fair. Save this phrase for those who whine about problems, so to speak, without knowing life. This is inappropriate after the funeral.
Finally, even without knowing how to properly express your condolences in words, you can do it from the heart - just by your silent presence. When trouble comes to the house, we need each other even without words. Do not leave loved ones and acquaintances alone with your grief!