Making the Initial Contact to a Friend Who Has Recently Experienced Loss

Posted on February 9, 2023 by Chris Messina under Grief
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Calling or visiting a friend who has recently lost their life partner or anyone close to them can be a challenge. You want to support your friend, but you are just not sure how to begin. Most likely the longer you put off making the call the more difficult getting in touch will become. Now, you are feeling bad that it took you so long to contact your friend, so you’ve added guilt to your mix. Start by taking a deep breath, realize you don’t have to have magic words that will make everything all better. No one has those words. Your caring will be enough.

Sometimes having a well-defined purpose for the call can help you over the hurdle of just getting started. That could be something as simple as offering to share. Making a call to share something you cooked or baked or grew can be the ice breaker you need to get you started. “I just picked up some delicious strawberries, or baked some cookies or made a batch of soup. Could I bring some to you?”

Perhaps your purpose for the call could be an invitation to do something. Maybe an activity that you know your friend enjoyed doing with the person who died. Something that might be difficult for them to do alone. Maybe it is attending a community concert, or play, going to a Friday night art walk. It could be as simple as offering a ride to church and perhaps an offer to get breakfast after the service. People who are accustomed to going out as a part of a pair often find going alone an impossible hurdle.

When determining your reason for calling keep your icebreaker simple. You want to present your bereaved friend with an easy, simple choice. Offering to share cookies you baked presents your friend with a fairly simple choice. Whereas offering to help clear out the deceased’s clothing might be a very difficult decision. Having a purpose for your call should make it easier for you to place the call but not harder for the recipient to receive the call.

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