You are using an old web browser. Parts of this site may not work. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox.

5 things to consider when writing a sympathy card

As everyone knows, writing a card can be a great way to cheer friends and loved ones up when they’re going through hard times. Sympathy cards let your friends know that you care about them in a way that electronic communication just can’t do, and in addition it is less likely to get blocked by a spam filter. Here are a few tips for making your sympathy card that much better.

  1. Be considerate. Your friend is going through hard times, so now is a good time to word things a bit more delicately. Though it may be difficult to keep from joking around a bit, and it’s hard to fully understand if you’re not going through it yourself, a little bit of tact in your sympathy card when referring to the issues your friend is going through will go a long way.
  2. Be optimistic. As easy as it is to deride optimistic messages as naïve, idealistic, and better suited for cheesy, groan-provoking motivational posters, in situations like this it really can help. While you don’t want to be tone deaf to you’re friend’s struggles, keeping an upbeat attitude as you write your sympathy card will help the overall effect of the card.
  3. Offer a positive scenario. Depending on the situation your friend is in, you can offer  up a best- case scenario of what could play out. Although it’s important to phrase it well and make sure it doesn’t come off as clueless, it gives your friend something to shoot for to help get out of the situation he’s in – a finish line, if you will, with teammates on the other side waiting do dump a cooler of Gatorade on his head.
  4. Fond memories. Sometimes, remembering good times with friends can help us get through difficult times. And in a sympathy card, you want to remind your friend of how much he or she means to you. Reminding of a good time you had together is a sure fire way to pick up your friend’s spirits.
  5. Offer help. Take a cue from the Beatles song and offer to help your friend out. Though you won’t be able to do everything for your friend, a sympathy card is a perfect way to let your friend know you’re there. Often, it’s just the act of offering help that will make your friend feel better, and in some cases they will feel more comfortable not taking your help, but will still appreciate it anyway.