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Helpful Tips on Expressing Condolences

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Expressing condolences isn’t easy. We’ll share helpful tips and alternatives to saying, “I’m sorry for your loss.”

White text over yellow background reads "expressing condolences." (Other ways of saying sorry for your loss)
Sending condolences can help your loved ones through difficult times.
Expressing Condolences—Quick Summary

  • Expressing condolences means sending and sharing expressions of sympathy, especially on the occasion of a death.
  • Other ways to say I am sorry for your loss include:
    • I’m thinking of you during this difficult time.
      My deepest sympathies to you and your family.
      My heart aches for you during this difficult time.

Expressing condolences to someone grieving the loss of a loved one is difficult to do. Many people fear saying the wrong thing or getting the timing wrong. Below, we will discuss what it means to express condolences, other ways of saying “I’m sorry for your loss,” and helpful tips to keep in mind to help you express condolences.

How to express condolences: Sorry for your loss. Here's what you can say instead.
Sending condolences or expressions of sympathy can help your loved one during the grieving process.

What Does “Condolences” Mean?

Condolence, almost always used in the plural form—condolences—is “an expression of sympathy, especially in the event of a death.” It’s a message you send to your colleague, friend, family member, or anyone else you know to tell them you recognize their loss and that they are in your thoughts.

Please accept my deepest condolences for the loss of your grandfather. He was loved by many.

Other Ways To Say “Sorry for Your Loss”

I’m sorry for your loss is a common phrase used when sharing an expression of sympathy. There is nothing wrong with this phrase, but if you want to send something different or more personal, consider the following alternatives:

My thoughts are with you and your family.
I’m thinking of you during this difficult time.
My deepest sympathies to you and your family.
My heart aches for you during this difficult time.
I wish you peace and comfort as you grieve.

You can also personalize the sentiment, depending on how well you know the grieving person and the person who passed away. Here are a few examples of more personal condolences:

I feel privileged to have met Joseph. He always lit up any room he walked into and had the special ability to make anyone laugh without even trying. My heart aches for you during this difficult time.
I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your aunt. She was an inspiring, charismatic, and kind woman. She meant a lot to this community. Please know that I am here for you.
I know there’s nothing I can say to make you feel better as you grieve the loss of your grandmother. She truly was a special person who will be missed by many. Please accept my deepest condolences.

What Should I Keep in Mind When Expressing Condolences?

There are a few phrases that should be avoided when expressing condolences.

They are in a better place.

This expression should be especially avoided if you’re unsure about the grieving person’s view on religion or the afterlife. It’s also overused, so it’s best to steer clear from it.

I know how you feel.

Even if you experienced a similar loss, expressing condolences should be about the grieving person, not about what you have gone through.

Everything happens for a reason.

Death can seem nonsensical to someone who is grieving. Do not force them to try to see the positive in their loss. Give them the time and space they need to grieve.

You will feel better soon.

Similar to the previous expression, do not coerce someone into trying to see the silver lining. Instead, acknowledge their pain.


Tips on Sending Condolences

When sending condolences, remember these tips:

  1. Express your sympathies as soon as you hear about the loss.
  2. However, if it takes some time for you to send your condolences, that’s okay. Just express that you were having trouble finding the right words. It might be comforting for the bereaved person to receive a message of sympathy beyond the immediate period of loss.
  3. Don’t reference religion unless you know what their beliefs are.

Take into account that every situation is different. You may be compelled to look for the best words to help your loved one during a difficult time. But remember, what’s important when expressing condolences is that the person receiving your message knows you’re there for them or are thinking of them.


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