The Exact Perfect Thing to Write in a Condolence Message

Condolence notes can be intimidating to write, and you may be at a loss for words. Use these tips to write a tasteful and sincere message expressing your sympathies.


Writing a condolence note can be scary because it’s easy to feel uncomfortable or not know what to say to those who have lost a loved one, which is a common challenge during the grieving period. When writing a condolence note, what you say and how much you say depend on how close you were to the deceased or to the family. However, few well-chosen handwritten sentences will generally suffice.

Phrases like “I’m so sorry,” “She was such a wonderful person,” “He was the model of the man I hope to become,” and “I’ll miss her too” will help you connect with the recipient. According to Anna Post of the Emily Post Institute, you needn’t restrict yourself to expressions of sympathy. If you have a favorite anecdote about the deceased or some particular memory you cherish, by all means, include it. The most important thing is to try and say what you truly feel. If you want the family to know you’d like to offer your help, it’s better offer something specific, such as help cooking or running errands.

But don’t discuss the circumstances or details of the death, and avoid comments like “She’s in a better place,” “It was God’s will,” and “At least he isn’t suffering anymore.” Leave that for the bereaved to say—when they’re ready.


More: Why You Should Always Go the Funeral

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest