Sending sincere condolences to a friend or colleague during a time of grief is a good way to let them know that you’re thinking about them. At the same time, it can be a little challenging too due to the sensitive nature of the topic.
Chances are you’re here looking for some tips on writing condolence messages, and we’re here to help you with that. Our quick guide on writing condolence messages will give you some ideas on what you should do.
Our General Tips
Be sure to take note of these general rules when it comes to writing condolence messages:
- Express compassion
You can start off your condolence message by offering your sympathy. It’s alright to tell that person that you’re sorry for their loss.
Generally, it’s also acceptable to share a happy memory you had with the deceased person, if any. Talking about a good memory can be something that the bereaved person will appreciate.
For example: I’m very sorry for your loss, (insert name of bereaved). I will always cherish the memory I had with (insert name of deceased) when we (talk about your happy memory).
Another example: (insert name of deceased) was such a good (insert your relationship with them) to me. My thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.
Be sure to avoid statements that talk about the circumstances of the deceased’s death when mentioning your sympathies. This can only trigger bad memories to the bereaved.
To end a message, you can also offer your help. Make sure to specify what kind of help you can offer, such as making funeral arrangements or simply being available to talk anytime.
- Consider the timing and manner
If you have close relations with the bereaved person or family (like a friend or relative), it’s best to let them know your sympathies as soon as possible. You can simply send them a message or you can say your condolences in person.
For acquaintances or colleagues, it’s acceptable to delay your condolences for a few days. For instance, you may say your condolences during the wake or funeral, in case you’re invited.
- Customise your message
Sincere condolences go a long way. This means that you should try your best to customise your message depending on your relationship with the bereaved individual or family.
If you’re aware of their religious beliefs, it can be comforting to also add religious quotes on your message.
For example, “For I am sure that neither death nor life… nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” —Romans 8:38-39
You can also tell them that you’re offering them your prayers, and that the deceased is in a much better place now.
If the bereaved is a Buddhist, you may share good things you know about the person who passed away, and that they lived their lives according to Buddhist beliefs.
Otherwise, it’s best to skip mentioning any religious messages if you aren’t sure about their religious affiliations. Saying things like you’re “praying for the soul of the departed” won’t be very helpful for non-religious people or those who don’t share your beliefs.
What’s important is that you keep your message short, meaningful, and personal.