Unsure How to Handle a Loved One’s Grief

“Betty lost her husband this year. I want to invite her to our Christmas party, but I’m not sure how. I don’t want to say the wrong thing, of course, and I find myself nervous about talking with her. What should I do?”

How about being honest? Put yourself in Betty’s shoes. You probably have noticed how so many friends have been absent in your life lately because they don’t know what to say.

So—you don’t know what to say. Then don’t say anything. Just be there for her. Tell Betty that you’d like to invite her to the Christmas party, and say that you’re not sure if it’s appropriate to ask her…you’re a little nervous about saying something that might make her more sad than less sad.

How do you think she’ll respond?

She’ll probably be glad that someone is being honest with her.

How many of us have been the griever and notice that people go out of their way to avoid us because they don’t know what to say or do?

The best present you can offer your grieving friend is presence—when and how the griever wants it. If Betty wants to come to the party, then great! If not, then don’t take it personally.

Betty is the same person she was before her loss. She hasn’t turned into an alien; she’s simply grieving.

How would you like your friends to treat you if the roles were reversed?