Traits of People Trying to Help Someone in Grief

Hello Friends and Readers!    Allow me to begin this writing with an apology for the delay in posting this follow-up to my last post – I’ve been “weathering my own storm” of illness for more than a week now.  But I do pray to be back on track with regular posts as soon as possible.

Today’s post is taken from the second half of the article found on titled, “The 10 Best and 10 Worst Things to Say to Someone in Grief”.  I’m not certain of the original author, but it appears to be taken from a post from Sheryl Sandberg on Facebook, who works for Facebook administration.

The second half of the article is titled, “Best and Worst Traits of People Just Trying to Help.”  As mentioned in the previous post, I will remind you that most people mean well and have good intentions in trying to be helpful.  They do not mean to cause harm to the individual in grief, yet there are some behaviors or traits which can actually lead to more grief.  I will present these traits as they were listed in the article. 


The Best Traits

  1. Supportive, but not trying to fix it
  2. About our feelings
  3. Non-active; not telling anyone what to do
  4. Admitting they can’t make it better
  5. Not asking for someone or something to change feelings
  6. Recognizes the loss
  7. Does not put time limit on grief


The Worst Traits

  1. They want to fix the loss
  2. They are about our discomfort
  3. They are directive in nature
  4. They rationalize or try to explain the loss
  5. They may be judgmental
  6. They may minimize the loss
  7. They put a timeline on loss


Certainly there are many more helpful and not-so-helpful traits of people who are trying to help.

What traits in people trying to help have you noticed were actually helpful to you?  What traits have you noticed are not helpful, even though the person meant no harm?

I would love to hear back from you!  I’d like to look further into helpful and supportive behaviors and traits in my next post.  I will include any of your comments in that post, without the mention of your name.

As always, feel free to contact me by leaving your comments here on the website, or contact me on the Facebook page “Weather Your Storm”, or write to me privately on Facebook, or write to me at .



  1. Worst things I have heard: “at least you got another 6 months”, ” push through to the other side “, “it’s been 6 months, that’s the normal grief period”, ” you are young and have a lot of yrs ahead”, “you should get an antidepressant”… Could go on & on

    • Kathleen McCormick says:

      I am so sorry you are having to hear those statements! People may not mean to be harmful, but none of those things said are helpful to you in any way and do nothing to support you in grief. Feel free to refer these people to my website, and perhaps they can learn more about what to say and how to be supportive to you.

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