(9 options) What should I say when someone apologizes for your loss (2023)

If you have recently lost a loved one, you may be receiving more calls, messages, and visits than usual from people offering their condolences.

Most people will say something similar to:"I feel your loss."Some of these people you may know, others you may not.

although a simple one"Gracias"will cut in most cases, sometimes it's hard to find a way to respond to that feeling, especially when you've heard that phrase dozens of times in the last few days.

How to respond to "I'm sorry for your loss"

  1. "Thank you for reaching out and staying with me for a moment in my pain."
  2. "My pain is so great, thank you for being sad with me."
  3. "Thank you for thinking of me and (the person)."
  4. "I appreciate your kind words."
  5. "Have you ever lost someone? How did you get over it?
  6. "Thank you very much. The support of a supportive community is very important at this time."
  7. "Your concern means a lot."
  8. "Thank you. It's still hard, but somehow it's getting better."
  9. "Thank you. I know you are in a better place now."

Here are other ways to respond when someone says:"My condolences."


  • How to respond to "I'm sorry for your loss"
  • Open your heart and show people what has worked for you
  • "Thank you for reaching out and holding my pain for a moment"
  • Kindly accept what they offer you.
  • "Thank you for thinking of me and (the person)."
  • "Have you ever lost someone? How did you get over it?
  • "Thank you very much. The support of a supportive community is very important at this time."
  • "I appreciate your kind words."
  • "Gracias"
  • "Your compassion means a lot"
  • "Thank you. It's still hard, but somehow it's getting better."
  • This type of grief can sound distant and impersonal.
  • Just say "thank you."
  • “Thank you for your attention and concern. It really means a lot to me."
  • The best answer is the one with which you feel comfortable.
  • "Thank you. I know you are in a better place now."
  • Unanswered
  • frequent questions
    • What if I don't want to talk to others about my loss?
    • Is it appropriate to share details of the circumstances of my loved one's death?
    • How do you react to condolence messages on the Internet?
    • Is it normal to cry or show emotion when someone expresses their condolences?
    • What if someone accidentally says something offensive or insensitive?
    • What if I am having trouble coping with my own grief after a loss?

JoTucker, MA. edition

(9 options) What should I say when someone apologizes for your loss (1)

grief expert,Coach Jo Tucker

Open your heart and show people what has worked for you

I suddenly lost my parents: my father when I was 21 and my mother just two years ago when I was 33. I am particularly struck by the difference in my experience on this subject.

When my father died I felt trapped by the endless list of responsibilities and the complete lack of emotional support I felt. To me, it all felt like a song and dance meant for the benefit of those outside the world."Great Loss Circle aka My Family."For a week we stood in line to greet everyone, welcome everyone, and watch as people shared their memories of my father with me, apparently not for my comfort but to fill the awkward space with something.

It felt like a memorial service for everyone's sake but me. And there I was dancing in my best clothes, in full view of the crowd.

Worse still, the"I feel your loss"was almost always accompanied by a"I'm here for you, let me know what you need."

In fact, the discomfort grew so much that years later when someone said: "I feel your loss."I quickly teased"OH MY GOD DID YOU KILL HIM!?' as a tactless little way to break from the form and gain some control over the narrative of pain. I watched with unrelenting glee as they were forced to squirm under the weight of my words as they tried to figure out where to turn next to get this ship back on course.

Looking back, and through the lens of another dramatic loss, I feel compassion for my younger self trying to bring some kind of control to such an uncontrollable situation.

She couldn't understand why she was expected to speak when she needed it most. She tried to shake the room so someone could take a closer look and see that she wasn't feeling well.

The problem is that they didn't teach us how to deal with grief. In fact, we are actively taught to stay away from it.

And in this retreat we intuitively learn that suffering in a way that is good for you is shameful. And both those who mourn and those who want to support those who suffer must understand this: the way we cry in our society does not serve us and we both need to change.

We need to destigmatize grief, whatever form it takes, and we need to reorganize.Instead of "I'm sorry for your loss"we can sayI can't imagine how you feel right now. This is too much. I'm sorry for you.“

Instead of just asking:let me know what you need’, we need to develop new rituals that build on older mourning rituals that require active community attention and long-term presence. we can sayThat is hard. I'm here for a long time, you're not alone.“

And this is how we work. We put systems in place, we test sensibly, and we put our hearts into helping losers so they don't have to shoulder the burden alone.

Today when I talk about my family history and the loss of my parents, people stop and say:"I feel your loss,"I don't lock myself away, I don't joke or walk away. I use the research to help build a new narrative about grief that works for all of us. I open my heart and show people what has supported me, how people have overcome it, and I am open about how I continue to deal with my pain on a daily basis. I hope it makes a difference.

patti madeira

(9 options) What should I say when someone apologizes for your loss (2)

speaker | Trainers | speaker | body language specialist

"Thank you for reaching out and holding my pain for a moment"

One of the many lessons of loss is that you, as the bereaved, are responsible for helping those around you not feel bad about their interactions with you. When you live in your pain, you often find yourself in situations where you need to take the burden of your pain off those who are clumsy with it.

So, for example, if someone tries to comfort you with the comment: "I'm sorry you got lost.What may seem like a mechanical statement, you are left with the option of providing an automated response or going deeper. The decision is always yours.

As an expert in body language, I share thoughts about grief with those dealing with grief (mortuaries, social workers, therapists, school counselors, police officers, ministers, and others).

I suggest you listen to the voice and body language of the person saying "I'm sorry for your loss" to see and hear if they're ready to go deeper with you for a moment.

If he's falling behind and is shy and talks in automatic, monotonous language, just give him a cordial."Gracias."And let her go. They say the pain is too much for them, but they are kind enough to come as close as possible to comfort you.

Related:The 12 Best Books on Body Language

When they actually make eye contact, lean forward, be fully present, and have the truth paralanguage saying, "I'm sorry for your loss," when you can tell them your truth. The funny thing is, when you're grieving, you can closely read nonverbal cues. Know. If they are open and willing, you can share your truth.

Can you share how the loss is affecting you?I lost my partner and my best friend and it hurts a lot.

You can thank them deeplyThank you for reaching out and staying with me for a moment in my pain."My pain is so great, thank you for being sad with me."

You can share memories of the person you lost that the person who apologized also shares so you can mourn the moment together.I remember how you and Roy used to sing together in the car when we went to the beach. I will miss hearing his voice with yours.

Related:What to say to someone who is hurt

That year, when I was 29 years old, I saw my best friend die and the loss of nine other friends dying. I have learned a lot about grief and the responsibility of dealing with people who have not had experience with it, which is incredibly uncomfortable and embarrassing.

Gretchen Kubacky, Psy.D.

(9 options) What should I say when someone apologizes for your loss (3)

Health Psychologist | Certified Grief Counselor Founder of SOP Bienestar | Author, "Coping With Grief: Proven Techniques For Finding Your Way After Any Loss

Kindly accept what they offer you.

As much as possible, keep in mind that people who don't say anything or offer common ground are doing so because they are uncomfortable with the pain. They care but they don't know how to say it well. Kindly accept what they offer you. Know that no matter what limited emotion you are feeling, there is probably a lot more love and emotion behind it.

(Video) 10 Signs Your Partner Doesn’t Love You (Even If You Think They Do)

Everyone is overwhelmed with grief these days, whether it is related to the illness or death of a loved one, or the loss of a job or business.

In a scary time when people are angry and isolated. The loss can feel even more extreme and depressing. To be a helpful friend, offer something specific to do for the bereaved, such as: other people about the loss.

gail carruthers

(9 options) What should I say when someone apologizes for your loss (4)

Certified Equine Guided Learning Facilitator | Adult educators | Death certificate, agony and mourning | Co-founder of the Equine Grief and Loss Program,Acres de Skye Blue

"Thank you for thinking of me and (the person)."

The answer to "I'm sorry for your loss" depends on many variables. Everyone wants a magic button on how to respond when people offer their condolences, but grief isn't a linear process. The weeks immediately after death are likely to be difficult, but mourning has no end date, allowing someone to grieve 50 years later.

The recipient should consider the following factors:

  • the relationship they have with you
  • if they are male/female,
  • your state of mind before/after death,
  • how emotionally stable they feel right now, etc.

For the type of loss you are receiving sympathy for: It depends on the age of the deceased, what type of loss it was (sudden or expected), your relationship to the deceased, etc.

For example, the response from a family member or close friend will be different than a coworker. Regardless of the situation, the simplest response, "Thank you for thinking of me and (the person)," is the easiest when variables are considered.

audrey esperanza

(9 options) What should I say when someone apologizes for your loss (5)

Certified Addiction and Trauma Therapist, Relationship Specialist

"Have you ever lost someone? How did you get over it?

It can be hard to find the right words or do the right thing when someone is going through a great loss. That's because you can't say anything to make it better or easier. Words don't do that. So if someone says: "My condolences' is a standard response, just like"I am doing it right"is an answer to"How are you?"is acceptable and neutral.

When someone says, "I'm sorry for your loss," you can respond:

  • "Thank you so much."As you know, they are trying to say something and don't know what else to do.
  • "I appreciate."This is also a great answer because you let them know, you know, they're trying.
  • Ask them a question in response:"Have you ever lost someone? How did you get over it?They will find common ground to help each other.

Kriss Kevorkian, PhD, MSW

Founder and CEO, A World of Mourning

As a dueling expertdeath and dieI would say that we tend to default to saying we're sorry, so to speak, because most people aren't very comfortable getting caught up in the weeds of grief.

When someone says this to someone else, I hope people take it kindly and understand that it could be anything someone can offer and respond by saying:"Gracias."

When I hear that someone I know has lost a loved one, I express my condolences and mourn the loss, but if I don't know the person well, I probably won't say more.

When people ask how to respond to that statement, I hope they take it as kindness and understand that grief is a topic most people don't want to talk about. In fact, we can hear someone make that statement and at the same time say, let's go to lunch!

Most of us want to DO something to help the grieving person, but we don't really want to TALK about the grief.

Dra. katy huie harrison

(9 options) What should I say when someone apologizes for your loss (6)

Author | Owner,indefinite maternity

"Thank you very much. The support of a supportive community is very important at this time."

Responding to this comment is difficult for several reasons. First, the commenter means well and is doing what he thinks is useful, so he wants his response to acknowledge his efforts and show that it's important.

Second, when you experience pain, you have little emotional range to help others help you. So while you want people to know that you appreciate their words, it's not your responsibility as the bereaved to make sure they're better.

What I enjoy doing is getting married, helping people understand that you value their words while helping them understand how they can help you in the future. my favorite answer is"Thank you so much. Supporting a supportive community is very important right now and will continue to be so for months to come.

What you are saying with those words is not just that you appreciate the comment; In fact, remind your support folks that while they're inundated with support now, they're not always. They plant a seed in their minds and hearts to return to you later.

In a few weeks, when the wave of support subsides, some of these people will remember to come back and ask how you are doing, offer to bring you dinner, or simply remind you of their love and support.

Knowing what to say when someone is grieving has an emotional charge for both the sender and the receiver. We don't handle pain well in our death-shy "overcoming" society. We want to offer our condolences and move on quickly, grateful that this is not our loss. Still, we mean well and no one wants to say the wrong thing or cause the bereaved person pain, so why?"I feel your loss"saying something wrong?

It can do more harm than good.

It is generic, overused, disconnected, and neutralized by emotion. This is especially true for social networks. One woman I interviewed for my research said: "I stopped reading my posts on Facebook. If I read another "I'm sorry for your loss" copycat message, I knew I'd scream. I did not lose my son; he died.

Grief may be universal, but grief experiences are individual. Not everyone will respond to the same type of message, verbally or in writing. Comments must be relevant to the person to be meaningful. If you don't know the deceased, ask for the person.

When all the words have escaped, simply say: "I am very sorry about the death of...“When someone dies, mourners long to hear the names of their loved ones. Some of the most memorable comments I received after my daughter's death were about her. "tell me about kate" o "I remember when Kate and I..."or simply"i will miss kate.“

(Video) Stop saying "I'm sorry" | Use these alternatives to SOUND LIKE A NATIVE

Kahlil King, PhD (c)

(9 options) What should I say when someone apologizes for your loss (8)

teacher | published scholar

"I appreciate your kind words."

When you lose a loved one, you can feel overwhelmed by the condolences of others. When someone says "I'm sorry for your loss", just a simple"Gracias"It will be enough. When someone apologizes for their loss, he tries to empathize, or even sympathize, as best he can.

"I'm sorry for your loss" is almost an automatic response to death, as "God bless you" is to a sneeze. The origin of the sentence is irrelevant, just like the semantics of the sentence itself, what is important is that someone recognizes that you are in pain; you are in mourning Try to offer comfort as best you can while maintaining your composure and avoiding criticism.

When you're still experiencing the intense psychological effects that accompany death, it can be tempting to be dismissive, condescending, or sarcastic, but understand that most people mean well when they say that. Sometimes I respond with "I know" or "So what?". because I did not properly mourn the death of my own mother. But this negative and rude approach hurts the people who are trying to help.

If possible, try to reconsider your relationship with this person before responding. Many of these statements come from close friends or family members; If so, they are probably very injured as well. This can lead to a longer or deeper conversation.

Participate when you feel comfortable, but don't feel obligated to discuss something that makes you uncomfortable. Acquaintances and colleagues can follow up and try to better understand who died, your relationship with that person, and how you are currently feeling. It is an attempt to rationalize and quantify your pain.

This can be intimidating or frustrating, so don't hesitate to tune out. You are the one who suffers; So it's up to you to talk about it or not.

Suggested simple answers:

  • Thank you. "Thank you."
  • show appreciation. "I appreciate your kind words."
  • Say kind words. "You are so thoughtful."
  • Say kind words about the deceased. "Yes, she was an amazing person."
  • And when you don't feel like talking, a bleary-eyed nod gets your point across.

At least be glad they didn't say"I feel your loss."

Claire Barbier

(9 options) What should I say when someone apologizes for your loss (9)

Certified Mental Health Counselor | Relationship Specialist | Founder,Treeological


Many people follow up their "I'm sorry for your loss" comment with a few kind words or a reminder of the deceased. In this sense, expressing your gratitude shows that you value both words of comfort and memories. When you're struggling with loss and having a hard time holding a conversation, this is a short and sweet way to acknowledge those around you without having to engage in a full conversation.

"Your compassion means a lot"

When you're hurt, it can be hard to accept words of comfort. However, it is important to recognize the intent to give words of comfort by those who offer them. As you return to everyday life, these are the people who will help you through this time. Show them that you appreciate their efforts simply by expressing that you care about their likability.

shelby forsythie

(9 options) What should I say when someone apologizes for your loss (10)

Certified Bereavement Specialist | Author, "permission to repent“ | Podcast Host, Coming Back: Talks About Life After Loss

"Thank you. It's still hard, but somehow it's getting better."

"Thank you for saying that. It means a lot to me."

"Thank you. I miss her so much."

always starts with"Gracias,"That way you'll know that the person you're talking to understands that they've been recognized for your kindness. Avoid saying something like:"Everything's fine," "I am doing it right,"o"He's fine,"unless these things are actually true for you. The loss is normal and natural, not being "good" or"everything's fine."

Elizabeth Brokamp, ​​MA, EDM, LPC

(9 options) What should I say when someone apologizes for your loss (11)

Terapia Nova Terra PLC

This type of grief can sound distant and impersonal.

While it is polite for a person to apologize for their loss, when it comes to grief, this type of grief can seem distant and impersonal. "You're lost,"After all, it means the death of someone you loved and shared memories with, someone with a personality, life story, and quirks all their own.

If you start with something other than "Gracias' or commonplace, name the loss and tell something special about the person who died. "Yes, I will never stop missing Aunt Lena. Did you know that she acted as an extra in several movies and she was a lousy cook?

Sharing these kinds of details can spark a conversation, as you've implicitly given the other person permission to ask questions, laugh at how bad Lena cooked, and share what made her special.

Just say "thank you."

Even better: "I can't understand how this is for you... This is what I can do for you now..."This is how I know:

My father had a massive heart attack in the parking lot of the Cleveland Hopkins airport and died. I was his favorite son and the last person to see him alive before he started his business.

I cannot describe the transformative devastation I felt. My whole world changed with a phone call from my father's best friend and neighbor; (who immediately picked me up at my apartment and took me to my parents). The core of my life, down to the marrow of my bones, has been forever changed.

Hundreds of people attended his wake, all in complete disbelief as he had just turned 50. I remember a brief "short circuit" at the wake; because wherever he looked, the crowded room was a different memory. (it was a little panic attack).

I had to leave (just to go to the bathroom). People scratched at me as I frantically paced through the crowded space. It would progress and then someone would take my hand and start talking to me about my father. That just fueled my flames to get out.

All I kept hearing was:"I feel your loss."

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I remember thinking, "NO you're not, YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M GOING THROUGH!

Over the years this saying has caught my attention: "I feel your loss' is the natural response that most people say without thinking.

For many years after my father's wake, I was claustrophobic; and the elevator ride has always been a great challenge. To this day, going to the wake remains a challenge that I overcome because family support is more important than feeling locked in a room full of people I know.

When my mother died years later when people said: "sorryFor me, I just graciously accepted it because I knew they were trying their best in a difficult situation.

joy symonds

(9 options) What should I say when someone apologizes for your loss (13)

Owner and Director of Community Engagement atFuneraria Symonds-Madison

“Thank you for your attention and concern. It really means a lot to me."

A simple thank you and an acknowledgment of your kindness is all it takes. Attempt,Thank you for your attention and concern. It really means a lot to me.“

Many people struggle with what to say after a loss, and a genuine thank you goes a long way. Sometimes friends and family worry about saying the wrong thing when they just want you to know they care.

Immediately after a loss, you may feel like you are in a mental haze. It's okay to repeat this phrase for everyone! Don't feel the need to confess your feelings or explain anything that is more convenient for you.

If you feel like talking and this person has met your loved one, you can ask them about their favorite memory or story. Beautiful memories and new stories can bring comfort in times of pain. If you don't want an in depth conversation, maybe just say thanks and stay. Together.

Michael Lefler

(9 options) What should I say when someone apologizes for your loss (14)

duel Trainer And Owner,living moon meditation

The best answer is the one with which you feel comfortable.

It's easy not to know how to respond when someone expresses sympathy for your loss. I often tell my clients that the best answer is the one they feel comfortable with. You are the one who suffers and most likely the person is not expecting a deep answer.

Sometimes a simple smile or nod is enough, and that's totally fine. Confirm that you heard the person and that you appreciate their sincere condolences.

If you feel like talking or just want to say something, a simple "Gracias" is enough. Don't feel obligated to go into detail about the person you lost. Of course, the best answer is the one you feel most comfortable with, if you're good with a deeper answer, then wise anyway, accept it. .

sam whittaker

(9 options) What should I say when someone apologizes for your loss (15)

Life Coach and editor atintelligence

Losing someone you love and care about is never easy. When people start offering their condolences, it can be difficult to figure out exactly what to respond to their condolences. Here are some of our suggestions on how to respond to condolences:


One of the most common responses is a simple "thank you." She simply acknowledges that she heard the speaker and appreciates his feelings. Given your current situation, he shouldn't expect you to give him a long answer.


This is a good response if the visitor shares some kind words or a memory of the deceased. You can reply "thank you" to show that you really appreciate their condolences.

"Thank you. I know you are in a better place now."

If you believe in life after death, sometimes death can be a bittersweet deal. This is especially true if your loved one is battling a long-term illness. You can show that you are grateful that he/she is at peace and is no longer in pain.


Sometimes the best response is not a verbal response, especially when you are having a hard time saying something. A simple nod, hug, or handshake can be enough to let the other person know that you appreciate their kindness and presence during this difficult time.

Know that this is a difficult scenario and that you are not alone. Your friends and family continue to love and support you during this time.

frequent questions

What if I don't want to talk to others about my loss?

It's completely understandable if you don't want to talk about your loss with other people. Grief is a personal and complex process that everyone experiences differently.

If you're not ready to talk about your loss, it's okay to let others know that you don't feel comfortable talking about it. One option is to simply thank them for their kind words and tell them that you're not ready to talk about it yet.

Alternatively, you can turn the conversation around by asking how they are doing or sharing a positive memory with your loved one. This can help focus on something positive and take the pressure off you to talk about your loss.

If you are having difficulty dealing with your grief, it may be helpful to see a psychologist or support group.

Whether it is appropriate to share details of the circumstances surrounding the death of a loved one is a personal decision. Some people find it helpful to talk about their loved one and the circumstances of their death, while others prefer not to.

(Video) Stop saying 'I'm sorry...' - say THIS instead - 17 more advanced alternative phrases (STORY LESSON)

It is important to consider whether you feel comfortable sharing this information and how the people you are talking to feel about it.

When sharing details, keep in mind that some people may be uncomfortable with certain topics or details. It is important to read their advice and respect their limits. If someone is uncomfortable or not interested in hearing more, it's okay to take a step back and move the conversation to another topic.

How do you react to condolence messages on the Internet?

Thanks to the person for his message:A simple thank you can go a long way to show your appreciation for the person's support.

Let the person know that their message was helpful:If this brought you comfort or support, tell the person how much they mean to you.

Please consider responding privately:If the message is too personal or you don't want to post your response, you can always send a private message or email.

Keep it short:There's no need to write a long answer if you don't want to. A simple message like "Thank you for your kind words,"It will be enough.

Answer at your own pace:You don't have to respond immediately to condolence messages. Take your time and answer when you feel ready. It's okay to take a break from social media when you need to focus on your well-being.

Responding to condolences online is a personal choice; you should do what is most comfortable for you. The most important thing is to take care of yourself and seek support when necessary.

Is it normal to cry or show emotion when someone expresses their condolences?

Yes, it's perfectly okay to cry or show emotion when someone expresses their condolences. It's natural to feel a range of emotions, including sadness, anger, and confusion, and it's important to allow yourself to feel these emotions and express them in healthy ways.

When someone expresses condolences to you, it can be a powerful reminder of the impact your loved one has had on your life and the lives of others. It's okay to express your feelings and take time to process them.

You don't have to feel embarrassed or embarrassed to get excited. It is a sign that you loved and cared for the person who died and are taking steps to process their grief.

What if someone accidentally says something offensive or insensitive?

While most people mean well when they express their condolences, they may say something that seems insensitive or hurtful.

In this case, try not to take it personally; it is likely that the person did not mean it with bad intentions. You can gently correct the person by letting him know how you felt about her comment and by suggesting another phrase he could use.

For example, if someone says: "At least they are in a better place now."You can answer"I appreciate your contribution, but for now my focus is to overlook them here."Everyone makes mistakes, and it's okay to speak up when something's wrong with you.

What if I am having trouble coping with my own grief after a loss?

Allow yourself to feel your feelings:It's okay to feel sad, angry, or confused after a loss. Allow yourself to feel your emotions and express them in a healthy way.

Get support:Don't hesitate to reach out to friends, family, or a psychologist for support. Talking about your feelings can be a good way to process your grief and begin to heal.

View after:Self-care is essential during the grieving process. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat well, and participate in activities you enjoy.

Find ways to honor your loved one:Remembering your loved one can help keep the memory alive and provide comfort during the grieving process. Consider remembering them, planting a tree, or attending a charity event.

Be patient with yourself:Grief is a process and healing takes time. Be patient with yourself and don't hesitate to seek support when you need it.

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