Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

What should you say in English to someone who loses a close friend or family member?

How can you let them know that you are there to support them without being intrusive or overbearing?

How can you find out exactly what they need and how they want you to support them?

Today we’ll show you how to do it in English with the right words and phrases.


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Things to think about:

  • Don’t assume anything. There are significant cultural differences regarding death and how it’s thought about across cultures. Be mindful of that before you jump in and start offering support to your friend.
  • Be open to what they need.  What the person needs is not always what you think they need or what you want to give them. Find out exactly what they need.
  • Listen. Words are important but listening is often more important.
  • Learn phrases. Check episode 481 to learn English expression for emotional angst. These phrases are not specifically about death but they could be useful:
    • “Oh I am so sorry that happened.”
    • “Wow I am so sorry to hear that.”
    • “I can’t imagine how you must be feeling right now”
  • Find out what they need:
    • “I want to be here for you. What can I do?”
    • “How can I support you in this?”
    • “I want to help you. You just let me know what you need.”
    • “I’m here for you when/if you need me”


Let us know your questions or comments below!

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