Facebook is a social network that encourages you to share your thoughts and feelings about what’s going on in your life. Most of the time people share about their families, accomplishments at work, and social activities. But life isn’t happy all the time. Just as people want to talk about good things in their lives, they also want to share the sad events that affect them. In a society that stigmatizes grief, it’s awesome to have a forum like Facebook where you can show support for grieving friends and family.
When someone posts on Facebook about a death, break up, or any other loss, it opens the door for helpful communication in talking about grief. When people share openly and honestly about their feelings it shows others that feeling are normal and might give someone else the courage to share about their own losses.
Grievers want and need to be heard.
Since grievers want to be heard it makes sense that they post about painful experiences and feelings on Facebook.
So what can you say or do when people post their grief on Facebook?
1. Acknowledge the loss by “liking” their post
If you are unable to pick up the phone to call your grieving friend, at least acknowledge their post by clicking the “like” button on Facebook. This let’s the griever know they were heard.
2. Leave a comment
Write something such as,
“I can’t imagine what you’re going through” or
“I’m so sorry”
Be careful not to fall into the trap of leaving intellectual statements like,
“Don’t feel bad, his suffering is over” or
“She’s in a better place”
Those comments might be intellectually true, but won’t help your grieving friends feel better.
If you can always pick up the phone and call your friend who is grieving. Human interaction is always more helpful than typing, texting, or email. Ask the griever what led up to the loss, and then listen to their response.
4. Follow up
Grievers get a lot of attention following a loss, but people tend to forget after a few weeks. Be sure to give them a call or invite them to coffee to see how they feel.
Have you ever posted about a loss on Facebook? What comments did you find helpful?
Alison Cole – Grief Recovery Institute