How do you help a grieving friend?

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(sharing this video? using it in a training! Great! Tag or email us and let us know, and be sure to give proper attribution.) It's so hard to know what to do when your friends are hurting. The thing is, you can't cheer someone up by telling them to look on the bright side, or by giving them advice. It just doesn't work. Watch this video to learn the one thing that will improve all of your "I'm here for you" intentions, and be that supportive friend you most want to be. NOTE: you must give proper attribution when you share this piece. It is copyright Megan Devine and Refuge in Grief. Using it for a training? Awesome. Give proper attribution (and drop us a note to let us know how you've used it!). In no circumstance is it legal to copy this video, or the script, and use it in your own work, passed off as your own creation. Love this video and find it useful? Credit the people who created it. Simple. subtitles in Spanish & French! Want to see videos & animations before anyone else? Join the Grief Revolution at Visit for more on how to survive your own grief & how to help a grieving friend. *** ¿Cuál es la mejor manera de ayudar a un amigo afligido? ¿Darles consejos? Anímalos? ¿Recordarles que la vida es para los vivos? ¡Ay! ¡No! Es muy difícil saber qué hacer cuando sufren tus amigos. De hecho, no se puede animar a alguien diciéndole que mire el lado bueno o dándoles consejos. Simplemente no funciona. Mire este video para aprender una cosa que mejorará todas sus intenciones de "Estoy aquí para usted" y ser ese amigo de apoyo que más quiere ser. Haga clic en el ícono de configuración de YouTube y elija subtítulos en español #itsokthatyourenotok #grief #empathy

Comments from Youtube

Katherine Nelson : Thank you for this. I lost my oldest son not quite four months ago to a motorcycle accident. He was 26. Everyone reached out to me for the first couple weeks, then just disappeared. People I hadn't heard from for years were all of a sudden there, then gone. It truly made me feel like everyone just wanted to be a part of the tragedy, until THEY felt like it wasn't tragic anymore. My daughter and I talk about him and the accident often, the good and the bad, but I sometimes wonder if anyone else truly gets it. I want to scream to people that just because he died, doesn't mean he never existed. And while I know this is something I will never get over, only get through, it would be nice to have others acknowledge that, even though it's been "this long", for a part of me, it will always be "Thursday". Update: my best friend and husband passed away suddenly and unexpectedly Friday December 14. Please keep me in your thoughts. I am heartbroken.

Miao Yu : I believe that when someone tries to cheer up or give advice to a grieving friend, he or she is really trying to get the friend to stop making him or her uncomfortable. It's well-meaning, but selfish. Acknowledging grief and wading into it is difficult and uncomfortable, so we tend to avoid doing so. Also, I've noticed that if a grieving friend doesn't respond in the expected way to these attempts to fix them, the other person tends to get upset at him or her, saying demeaning crap like, "why can't you just get over it already?".

Wendy Tarasoff : My daughter is in pain. She has to face her own death. I let the tears flow and acknowledged her.

☀️Charlotte☀️ : Thank you for this, my best friend lost her mother in a heart attack this morning and i know this knowledge will help.

Sarah Jane Dueñas : I lost my mum 2 months ago and it's very difficult. 😭

Ekew : I think the hardest thing is finding that person who will want to consistently acknowledge your grief. For most, they will do it once if that and then you never hear from them again because they expected you to be done grieving right away. The reality is it only becomes worse because no one wanted to support you in your grief and now you feel isolated on top of grieving (if that makes sense) they were all keen to move on with their lives because loss has not impacted their lives and they will pretend like nothing happened but you don't have that option. At least this was my experience, my father died when I was 15 and my mother died when I was 28, it set a pretty upsetting view of the people in my life (including family).

Xavier Vela : I loss my wife 2 cancer 3 yrs ago & a large majority of the people just did not no what to say or what to do when they heard of my wife”s death - That can be very dangerous when grieving because all U want is people to acknowledge that U R hurting & in great sorrow & a big hug & them weeping with U & understanding your pain is all U desire in those early stages of grief ❤️✨🙏😇🤠

Cory : Literally my masters in a video. Thank you 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

Becky Livingston : Bravo. I love this message "It makes things feel better even thought they can't be made right"

Stefanie Hanlon : Everyone grieves in their own way and there is no time table on it. Sometimes people just want to be left alone. A comment that was made to me was "call me when you get over it" well, that comment was just another heartbreak - and the worst thing you can say to someone, no matter how long ago it was.

Pawter Panda : Thank you for this. I recently lost both of my parents and when people tell me "At least you have memories of them" it only makes it worse because I don't want them to just be memories I want them to still be here and I can't have that.

Mwer Keller : My best friend that I've been with for about 7 years lost her dad recently because he got hit by a bus. Whenever she needs to talk about it, I let her talk. Whenever she needs to show me pictures of her dad, or things she gave her dad, or even things her dad gave her, I always let her because I know how important it is to her.

Alice G : Thank you for this video. All of this is so very true. I recently lost my mom and I do not know if I will ever stop grieving, there is a big part of me gone. Ths is very good advice. Thank you

IAmAPhotoCrazyGirl : Do NOT say "just get over it" or "don't be a baby". Everyone grieves differently. Just be aware, listen, and be a friend.

S. K. RICHARDS : Thank you so very much for this♡ Grief & death are such taboo subjects. Very valuable information.

Catherine Pestano : when my best friend died many years ago it devastated my friendship group. People don't always realise the impact of losing a best friend, followed by a friendship group being all at sea with their own grieving. For her 50th (over 20 years after her death) we, along with her husband and family, instigated a new award at our old school celebrating her gentle kindness. The grief in us all was right up there still raw in a way but more containable. It's good to keep talking, if people can bear to listen and share together.

Jessica Rios : Deep thanks for your bold, open heart. This is gorgeous, clear, potent wisdom and medicine. So needed in these crazy times. THANK YOU, dear Megan.

Lynn Oatman : Thank you so much for this. I know people mean the best, but so often they don't understand, that fixing it isn't what is needed. Thank you thank you thank you.

Miranda Brimley : Hi, this is such a great video! I teach at a nursing school and would love to use this during my class when we talk about loss, grief, and dying. I think this sums up how to "facilitate grieving" in our patients better than any textbook I have seen. If I show it in class is it ok to just leave the video as it is? I also have a link to your website that I provide to the students as a great resource for learning more. Thanks!

penmart127 : My youngest daughter, Heather died June 4, 2017. Some....not all people just don't get the fact that I will NEVER BE THE PERSON I WAS BEFORE....i have found that I gravitate to the people who just let me cry or talk or heck...they cry with me...

Miriam Jewett : I lost my 6 yr old beautiful granddaughter to brain cancer last Dec. I've learned until a grieving person is ready to hear, no one can help.

CarterCrewLife : What about trying to help a grieving friend who is very introverted and private? I really do respect her need to grieve in private, and I have expressed that my heart is with her even when I can’t be. I don’t want to intrude, but it’s so hard to know how often it is ok to reach out. If she would prefer a shallow conversation as a reprieve? Or when it is ok to say, “I miss him too.” knowing that my own tears might feel burdensome? I really appreciate this video and your FB page got me through a very hard time of my own grief. It was a true refuge. Thank you.

i am adopted : i really really hate it when people try to make things better by saying "its gonna be ok" or "itll get better" even though i know theyre trying and i appreciate that

Roberta Purves : This is very good advice. I lost my 20 year old son. I did not want to be talked out of my pain. I wanted to be left alone. But, had someone said; I'm sorry your hurting do you want to talk about it?" Or a friend or family member to just be there put your hand on my shoulder and just be there. No words. Sometimes when people are grieving they just need lots of time let them sleep let them cry let them grieve. Encourage them to join a support group asap. It saved my life. I joined GriefShare and became a facilitator. God blesses all tears. God bless all that are hurting.

Gevian Dargan : Thank you. This really helps a lot. I have been struggling with how to be there for people who are grieving and dealing with loss of many kinds. I will definitely give this a try.

Pradip Malakar : Thanks for sharing this amazing video. It's so simple. Just be there with your pain and let it becomes fertilizer to your garden on life. This same pain then helps blossom beautiful fragrant flowers of love and compassion... I know what it meant and I deeply practice it on self and others.

Claudia Nehrkorn : My daughter and I love this. Thank you so much. Being heard, being witnessed really helps.

kumuda dv : Absolutely right, I see people around want to bring us soon back to normal and think that's the way to console us. No, please. All we need is listening ears n touching hands, to keep our grief open exposed as much we want. It's a lesson and everyone should follow.

Anneli vD : I wish more people around me knew this. It hurts so much when they try to cheer me up. It feels as though they’re saying “just get over it, you’re overreacting”

UrbanLegend526 : This video would’ve helped me explain myself when I was going through a bad/traumatic time even though it wasn’t a loss or death.

Benjamin the king Of Asgard : My friend recently had her grandma pass and I don’t know what to do I the type of person that’s not half empty or half full I’m more of a it’s good enough but not to go kinda person But she is a half full person I never mourn really I show sadness but I never go into a dark space and cry and need help I just want to know how to help her I like her and I told her this and it hurts me to know that right now she could be feeling tremendous pain and might need a friend I just wanna know how to help my friend

star star draws : I'm struggling with grief and my friends said they would help and I sent then this

Roberto villacorta : thank you I have a girlfriend thats going threw this i am doing everything to cheer her up

Jay Anderson : This is so well done Megan.  Thank you!  I am using this in my Death & Dying courses.

Pamela Roberts : I think this is true in many situations. People just want to feel validated. No matter if it is grief or anger or frustration, etc. Just letting them know that you acknowledge that they feel this way can help the situation. It can calm them down sometimes to get them to be more responsive to positive thoughts and behaviors.

Ogyen Gyatso : Thank you for this, it’s so genuine. I had a stray puppy who I got so attached to and really loved like my own child, but I was at fault for when he prematurely died. My “best friend” tried to console me on two or three occasions but by the fourth time he told me to get over it. Took me a long time to figure things out and that he was only looking out for himself, and that I was losing more by following people like that. I don’t think I’ll ever get over my dog’s death, but I have definitely grown up immensely since then. Appreciate every second with your loved ones because you never know when they will be snatched away.

Laura Anniebelle Berdette : Hello, I would like to share this video with my class during a presentation at school. I am in a registered nursing program and my topic is Interrupted Family Processes, Grief and Loss. Would that be alright? It's a great video :) Thank you

fuzzyizmit : This is so helpful. Thank you so much for this.

D D : Yes... This is very accurate.

Stephanie VanderMeulen : This is so, so good. And true. Each phrase is very powerful and bang on. Thank you for this.

Kristen Pilling : I really needed to watch this, wow. I lost my mom a month ago, and indeed, there were people who wanted to cheer me up. The ones who leaned in and stood in the grief with me really helped. I really appreciate your content. Thank you ❤️

Runner_Track : So true.. you want to leave people alone when they are grieving... I lost my dad 10 years ago, and all my friends tried to cheer me up. It didn’t work. Don’t take away the pain it will help you a lot.. I am a very sensitive and emotional person and cry pretty much everyday.. I was diagnosed with bad depression.. all my friends are trying to make me smile but never works.. you just have to let the grief take its own path

JasonMcGarva : Wow, what a beautiful video and message. Thank you for making this.

Antonella Tsakmakis : Thank you Your words are so beautiful and true

Elena Gogou : we would love to have it subtitled in Greek, too... it is such a lovely and helpful piece of work

Kathleen Lee : Thank you Megan, I'm in tears as I write this. I lost my soul child Nicholas 3 years and 3 months ago today due to an undiagnosed AVM which led to a massive cerebral hemorrhage. I found him on the floor. It feels like it was yesterday. I'm glad you wrote your book. I am reading it. You get it. Nobody in my world does. Love to you.

achtube85 : This video is beyond needed, and not only when the person is grieving, but when is suffering for many other reasons. I can relate to this need for "simple" acknowledgement very often. Thank you so very much.

Macalin Booth : This is amazing, thank you so much.

S G : Thank you for this. My father died at 87, nearly 6 years ago, during a short stay in hospital - I was at home in England. My mother died last October 2017 in her own bed in Portugal at the age of 94 - sis and I were privileged to be with her when she died. The year had been traumatic for all of us and sis and I had taken turns going out to Portugal to care for her. The pain is still strong and I still cry and, yes, people who haven't been through it don't get it. I don't want to hear about a "good innings". Damn, they were my parents and I still think "I must tell them.....when we speak next". The pain changes for me, but doesn't go away.