What To Say To A Coworker Who Lost A Family Member (& What Not To)

Written By Aleena

What to say to a coworker who lost a family member is not always easy. You want to be understanding and supportive. But you also don’t want to say the wrong thing.

You can never truly know what another person is feeling, so it’s always best to err on the side of caution.

What To Say To A Coworker Who Lost A Family Member

Losing a family member is never easy. It’s a difficult time for anyone, and your coworker is likely no exception.

It’s important to remember that everyone grieves in their way, and there is no right or wrong way to do it.

Here are some tips on what to say to a coworker who has lost a family member.

1. “I’m Sorry For Your Loss.”

This is probably the most common thing to say to someone who has lost a family member. And there’s a good reason for that. It’s simple yet sincere.

Sincere condolences - What To Say To A Coworker Who Lost A Family Member

You are not only expressing your condolences, but you are also acknowledging that this is a difficult time for your coworker.

And this can mean a lot to someone who is grieving.

2. “If There’s Anything I Can Do, Please Let Me Know.”

Offering to help your grieving coworker is a kind and thoughtful gesture. 

It shows that you care about them and want to make this time as easy for them as possible.

And whatever they need help with, big or small, let them know you’re there for them.

For instance, you could offer to help with a project they’re working on. Or even get them a coffee.

Or, if they’re struggling, you could offer to listen to them if they need to talk.

3. “I Can’t Imagine How You’re Feeling.”

This is another way of saying that you are there for your coworker.

It shows that you understand how difficult this time is for them and that you are thinking of them.

And you can also offer your support and let them know you’re there for them if they need to talk.

However, if you have lost a family member, it might be helpful to share your experiences with your coworker.

This can help them feel less alone and understand that you know what they’re going through.

4. “I’ll Be Thinking Of You.”

Telling your coworker that you’ll be thinking of them is a nice way to show your support.

This lets them know you care about them and are thinking of them during this difficult time.

But don’t just say it, actually follow through and do it. Send them a text or email to let them know you are there for them.

Or, if you see them in the hallway, stop and chat with them for a bit.

5. “Take All The Time You Need.”

If your coworker has lost a family member, they might need some time off from work.

And it’s important to respect that. Losing a loved one is a very difficult thing to go through, and your coworker will need time to grieve.

So, if they need to take some time off, let them know you understand.

6. “Do You Want To Talk About It?”

This is a great way to open up the conversation with your coworker. It shows that you are there for them and want to offer your support.

Time of sorrow - What To Say To A Coworker Who Lost A Family Member

And it allows them to talk about their experiences if they want to.

However, it’s important to respect your coworker’s wishes. Don’t push them if they don’t want to talk about it.

Everyone grieves in their way, and there is no right or wrong way to do it.

So, be there for them and offer your support when and if they need it.

7. “I Have No Words, Just Know That I Care.”

Sometimes, it’s hard to find the right words to say. And that’s okay. Your coworker will understand that you might not know what to say.

And they will appreciate your support, even if you don’t have the right words.

When you struggle to find the right words, be honest and tell your coworker that you care.

This is a simple yet effective way to show your support.

8. “Your Family Is In My Thoughts And Prayers.”

If your coworker is religious, they might appreciate you sending them your thoughts and prayers.

This is a way of showing your support and letting them know you are thinking of them.

And if you’re not religious, you can still send your thoughts and prayers. It’s a nice way to show that you care.

9. “I’m Here For You.”

This is probably the most important thing you can say to your coworker. It shows that you care about them and are there for them.

And it lets them know that they can come to you if they need to talk or need someone to listen.

If they need help with anything, let them know that you’re there for them.

And if they need a shoulder to cry on, offer yours.

10. “May They Rest In Peace.”

This is a short but powerful way wish to say to your coworker. It shows that you are thinking of them and their loved ones and wish them peace.

Difficult time - What To Say To A Coworker Who Lost A Family Member

And it’s a nice way to end the conversation if you’re not sure what else to say.

These are just a few things you can say to a coworker who has lost a family member. Just remember to be there for them and offer your support.

What Not To Say To A Coworker Who Lost A Family Member

When you are trying to comfort someone who is grieving, it is important to be sensitive. Avoid saying anything that might make them feel worse.

Here are a few things you should avoid saying to a coworker who lost a family member:

1. “They Are In A Better Place Now.”

While this might be true, it’s not always helpful to say. Your coworker might not believe that their loved one is in a better place.

And, even if they do, this phrase can be frustrating to hear. It might make your coworker feel like you are invalidating their grief.

Or you are telling them they should be happy their loved one is no longer suffering.

2. “It Was For The Best.”

This might be well-intentioned, but it’s not helpful. Your coworker is grieving.

And they will not want to hear that their loved one’s death was for the best.

Even if it was, this is not something you should say. It’s best to avoid giving your opinion on the situation.

3. “At Least They Are Not In Pain Anymore.”

This is another well-intentioned but unhelpful phrase. Yes, your coworker’s indeed loved one is no longer in pain.

Help ease the pain.

But, again, this phrase can be frustrating to hear. It might make your coworker feel like you are telling them to be glad their loved one is dead.

4. “I Know How You Feel.”

Unless you have lost a family member, you cannot know how your coworker feels.

And even if you have, everyone grieves differently. So, it’s best to avoid saying this.

Instead, listen to your coworker and be there for them. And if you want to share your own story, make sure to ask first.

5. “It Was Their Time.”

This is another phrase that is best to avoid. It’s impossible to know when someone’s time is up.

And this phrase might make your coworker feel like you are telling them their loved one’s death was inevitable. 

Although it was, this is not something you should say. Do not add to the pain your coworker is already feeling.

6. “Everything Happens For A Reason.”

This phrase is often said in an attempt to comfort someone. But it can have the opposite effect.

Your coworker might not believe their loved one’s death was for a reason.

Instead of finding a reason for the death, be there for your coworker.

So here are some phrases to avoid saying to a coworker who lost a family member. Just remember to be sensitive and listen to your coworker.

Tips To Comfort A Coworker Who Lost A Family Member

The least you can do for a coworker who lost a family member is to be there for them.

But if you want to do more, here are a few tips:

1. Bring Them Food:

If your coworker takes time off to grieve, they might not have time to cook.

So, one way you can help is by bringing them food. This will help make sure they are getting enough to eat. 

And it will take one less thing off their plate. Also, try to bring them food that is easy to eat.

So, avoid anything that needs to be cooked or prepared.

2. Help With Their Work:

Helping your coworker’s work is a great way to show your support.

Time of mourning.

If they take time off, offer to do their work. And, if they are still working, see if there is anything you can do to help.

For instance, you can offer to do their research or proofread their documents.

3. Send Them A Card:

A card is always a nice gesture. It shows that you are thinking of them and sends a message of support.

If you are not sure what to say, keep it simple. A short, heartfelt message is all you need.

You can write something like, “I’m sorry for your loss. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.” 

4. Give Them A Gift:

A gift is another great way to show your support. And it does not have to be anything big or expensive.

Simple flowers or a book can be enough. Just make sure to choose something that you think they will appreciate.

This is not the time to get them something they need. It’s a time to get them something that will make them feel loved and supported.

5. Offer To Listen:

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is offer to listen. Your coworker might not want to talk about what they are going through.

But it’s important to offer anyway. Just let them know you are there for them and willing to listen if they need to talk. 

Conclusion:

Losing a family member is never easy. And it can be tough to know what to say to a coworker who is going through this.

Just remember to be sensitive and listen to your coworker. And avoid saying anything that might make them feel worse.

Last Updated on 5 months by Shahzaib Arshad

Aleena

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