Lost for Words – What To Say (& Not) To Someone Who’s Grieving - aifc

When Amanda picked up the phone, nothing could prepare her for what she was about to hear. Her best friend’s little girl had drowned in the family pool.
There was a long pause. Grappling with her own shock and disbelief, Amanda realised there were no words. She couldn’t think of a single thing to say that would take the edge off the pain.
Throughout life, we are faced with grief and loss. Knowing how to respond when someone is going through a difficult time can make a difference.


‘I’m here for you’ – A time of loss can feel very lonely. Often, because people are afraid of saying the wrong thing, we can unintentionally avoid spending time with our friends who have experienced tragedy. Just a simple: ‘I’m here for you’ can be all that needs to be said. The silent message is: ‘You’re not alone’ and that can mean the world to someone who’s going through a difficult time.

Don’t preach – Our natural tendency can be to try and ‘fix’ things with words of encouragement like ‘cheer up’ and ‘it’s for the best’ and ‘everything happens for a reason.’ These words have their place, but not necessarily right in the midst of grief. They can, in fact, do more harm than good in that moment.

Let your actions speak for you – In the words of Ronan Keating ‘You say it best, when you say nothing at all.’ After losing a loved one, daily chores can be neglected while making funeral arrangements and coming to grips with the loss. You can lighten the physical and emotional load by delivering a hot meal, doing laundry, cleaning the house, or mowing the lawn. It shows that you care, without having to stumble over your words, trying to find the right ones.

Keep it real – If you don’t know what to say, simply saying: ‘I don’t know what to say’ can be all that needs to be said. Your friend who’s experiencing loss is probably feeling the same way; struggling to articulate their own feelings and find ways to comfort themselves. Flowery words can miss the mark if they’re not straight from the heart.

Just listen – Sometimes being a listening ear is all that’s required. Let your friend do the talking and simply respond to them. Don’t feel that you need to fill in awkward silences with words. Just knowing they’re being heard and understood can help with the healing process.


Permission Attained.
Written by Annette Spurr – Mum Daily


Talk to your GP or a local counsellor if someone you know is going through a long and difficult grieving process. Search for a counsellor near you www.theaca.net.au
Lifeline Australia – Crisis support and Suicide Prevention 13 11 14

Studying at aifc

Have you thought about becoming a qualified counsellor? It’s a great opportunity to learn how you can extend God's love and grace to the hurting out in the community.

For those who would like to enrol in aifc’s accredited Christian counselling courses we have two intakes per year for courses commencing around the following months:

  • The beginning of each year in February
  • Mid-Year courses commence in July

Enrolment Season - opens approximately 2 months prior to our courses commencing. Enrol online here during our enrolment season.

We also offer two modes of study:

  1. Seminar Blended Mode - only 13 face-to-face days per year
  2. Online Supported Mode - study online only from anywhere

A Master of Counselling course was introduced in 2018.

Contact aifc

Monday to Friday from 9am – 5pm

At aifc, our sole focus is to train and equip Christian Counsellors. More than just a counsellor, a Christian counsellor trusts in God and listens to His still small voice above all else.

It’s a big difference.

Nicholas Marks, CEO aifc

Download the Course and Services Guide

We've put together a comprehensive course and services guide with everything you need to know about what aifc offers.

Fill out the form below and we'll send it straight to your inbox.