When Your Friend Faces Grief


When Your Friend Faces Grief Watching a friend walk through a season of grief is heartbreaking. The pain associated with death, infertility, divorce, severe illness, job loss, and the like, can make it difficult for someone to face daily life. As a friend, it can be hard to know how to offer support, especially if the individual is not practiced at clearly communicating their needs. You will likely need to explicitly ask how you can offer support and what would or would not be helpful.

Grief can change the dynamics of a friendship. Oftentimes, when someone faces a personal loss, they may be triggered by certain situations or be more sensitive to specific topics of conversation. Maybe it’s hard for them to celebrate good things happening in the lives of those around them. This is understandable, but it may be hard for you to not take it personally. However, your role as a friend during this season is to consider their feelings above your own and love them in any way you know how, for as long as they need.

Let’s get into some ways you can offer support to a friend walking through a season of grief, as well as some things you should not do:

  • Ask the hard, awkward questions, like “Do you want to talk about the situation?” and “Are you ok?” It can feel isolating when no one asks, just because it’s uncomfortable to ask the question and face the pain. Saying nothing is the worst thing you can do. If your friend is going through infertility, ask if they want to share the details of this journey. If they’ve lost a loved one, ask if they want to share stories and memories of this person with you. In facing things like divorce, illness, or job loss, they may find solace in voicing their fears out loud. Create space for them to share. They may or may not want to, but for some, it helps to process out loud.
  • Care for their physical needs. Grief affects the physical body and in the immediate onset, it can be difficult for someone to care for the basic needs of themselves and their loved ones. Providing meals, food gift cards, or offering occasional childcare can help immensely.
  • Verbalize your love for them and your desire to support them. Instead of asking them how you can help them, offer ways you would like to support them and let them give you the OK. For example, “I love you and want to support you during this difficult time. I picked up a few extra items at the grocery store and will drop them on your porch today” or “We are home from 9-3 today, can I pick up your kids for a playdate so you can rest?” Consistently dropping off small tokens of love is a nice gesture too, like a coffee or a treat, a new nail polish, fresh flowers, a journal, or even a simple note.
  • Refrain from platitudes. Plain and simple, it is a bad idea to tell someone facing grief that “Everything happens for a reason” or “Good things come to those who wait” or “God won’t give you more than you can handle” or to “Find the silver lining.” Just don’t.
  • Respect their privacy. It is not your place to share a friend’s story with others. When they vulnerably share their heart and struggles with you, honor them by protecting their privacy. Unless they give you permission, it is not your place to share. That’s called gossiping.
  • Be sensitive. If your friend finds it hard to be at celebrations like birthday parties or baby showers, let them know attendance is not expected. Continue to invite them, but acknowledge that it might be difficult for them to attend, and that you understand. Likewise, if it’s painful to talk about certain subjects, try to steer conversation elsewhere.
  • Help them resume “normal” activity. This one is tricky and will require you to really tune into your friend. Asking them to go for a walk, inviting them to dinner at your home, or inviting them to run an errand with you can be a huge first step in stepping back into the world, even amidst their pain.
  • Reassure them of their efforts. It’s really hard to take steps to process grief. Let them know you see their efforts. You might say something like, “I know it takes a lot of strength to go to therapy each week. I see you” or “I’m glad you came over tonight, I value spending time with you.”
  • Recognize grief is not linear. Do not expect your friend to be “over it” in a certain amount of time. Though healing will take place, it’s wise to keep checking in on them even when they seem to be ok.

Have grace for your friend facing grief. There is a time to give and a time to receive, and we will all be on either side at some point in our lives.


  1. Thank you for the article on grief.My husband passed away June 19,2023 and I am now a single parent with a 6 year old son.This is a hard,lonely road we are traveling but God is with us and we will survive.


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