[WATCH] How to Help a Grieving Friend


Update: This video and article was posted August 2018. Sadly, the author and my friend, Kim passed away June 3, 2019. ????This interview is now immensely important to me. Her words and wisdom are now helping her friends and family grieve HER loss.

If you’ve ever wondered how to help a grieving friend (or child) keep reading. When tragedy strikes it’s confusing and feels like an emotional avalanche.   Grief is messy and can be destructive.  Watching your friend or child grieve can leave you feeling helpless and lost.  You want to help but feel paralyzed from fear of saying the wrong thing. My own grief journey changed my life and how I approach others who are grieving.

I recently sat down with author, Kim Fredrickson discussing helping friends and children navigate the dark waters of grief.  Kim is a licensed marriage and family therapist with 30+ years of experience. She loves teaching others about the power of self-compassion from a faith perspective. She is the author of Give Yourself a Break: Turning Your Inner Critic into a Compassionate Friend and Give Your Kids a Break: Parenting with Compassion for You and Your Children.Kim has a calmness in her nature that I admire and respect.  Her experience and wealth of knowledge was encouraging and I hope our conversation was equally helpful to you. (Side Note: She managed to get me to share why I cried the night before my wedding around minute 15.  I wasn’t planning on that at ALL.  This just shows her counseling skills!)   

For your convenience, I detailed the interview summary below, with specific questions highlighted and listed the resources Kim suggested.


During the interview we answered the following questions: 

  • If processing emotions is hard for ME, how can I help my friend? (Minute 6:19)
  • What are some of the less obvious reasons a friend or loved-one might be grieving? (Minute 10:45)
  • What do I say do a child to help them talk about their feelings? (Minute 16:49)
  • My friend just experienced devastating loss. However, I’m so worried about saying the WRONG thing…that I don’t say anything. What can I say?” (Minute 24:19)
  • What are things NOT to say: (Minute 30:21)


Books for ADULTS  about Grieving:

I Didn’t Know What to Say: Being a Better Friend to Those Who Experience Loss by David Knapp

Books for KIDS about Emotions: