5 Tips on Comforting a Coworker Dealing With Grief



When a coworker experiences the loss of a loved one, it is usually a shock to everyone in the department.

Many people struggle with what they should or should not do about the sad news.

Nurses and other caregivers also struggle like everyone else when it is a coworker.

It is even harder when you were not particularly close to the person.


In this article I want to share some tips on what you can do and also avoid.

  • Listen to Them

Be a good listener. Some of you naturally love to talk. This is the time to really focus on what your coworker is saying.

Listen with concern without interfering or trying to share your opinion.

Let them feel that what they are saying is important. Avoid looking impatient or disinterested.

Listening to their story will give them comfort as it tends to lighten the burden of the heavy news.

Let them feel that you truly support them.


  • Be Patient

If they are crying and mourning, give them time.

Avoid telling them to try not to think about it. The pain of loss is truly deep and different people will react in various ways.

This is not the time to make them feel like they are misbehaving.

If they are a little loud, you could take them to a private room and comfort them with kind words.

Tell them you are sorry this has happened.

Avoid telling them you “know how they feel,” because you really do not at this particular time.

Even if you may have suffered your loss some time back, that is not what you want to say.

  • Hug Them

Touching someone who is grieving can be very therapeutic. Give them a hug or gently touch their shoulders.

The worst thing you can do is to avoid them. They will notice it and you will only make them feel terrible.

Since they are already suffering, you goal should be to alleviate their pain even if it is in a small way.

Finding Inner Peace

  • Clichés to Avoid

Some clichés are best not mentioned when anybody has been bereaved.

Some examples include; “It’s God’s will,” “every dark cloud has a silver lining,”   “let me know if there is anything I can do,”  “keep the faith.”

You may have good intentions, but saying these things may not be such a smart idea because you may cause more hurt then you mean to.

If you have to say something, just be natural and avoid clichés otherwise you will sound phony.


  • Send a Card

Send them a card with comforting and inspirational words. It may seem like a small gesture but it is well appreciated.

I still keep all the cards that my friends and coworkers send me when my father died. They are part of my valuable things.

Flowers are also lovely to send. Some people and families do not like flowers so make sure they do not mind.


Have you had a coworker that was bereaved? I’d like to hear your comments.

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  1. I really appreciate this post. I have already been looking throughout just for this! Thank goodness I stumbled upon it on Bing. You earn my day! Many thanks

    • Joyce says:

      Happy I made your day.

  2. Ann Najjar says:

    Being sensitive to the pain of others is for me the most important thing. I realize that everyone grieves differently (accepts death differently); so if I am not close to the co-worker who has died, I allow others to have their emotions about it.

    This happened in a department in which I worked for many years. The co-worker who passed away was difficult and had caused much consternation. It was interesting to see how the entire department rallied around the situation and made monetary contributions, even though they had suffered much “bullying” from the deceased. Many attended her wake and funeral.

    • Joyce says:

      That is very interesting. I believe the coworkers needed closure even though this person had been a bully.
      When we work together for some time, we start to be like a “sort of” family.
      When a death occurs, people feel they need to do what society dictates.
      Thanks for sharing.