50+ Ways to Offer Condolences to Family, Friends & Colleagues

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Writing condolences is a difficult thing to do. You’re acknowledging a tragic loss and trying to give sympathy. Sometimes, you’re trying to work through your own grief and still make time for someone else’s.

They’re often hard to write because you don’t know what to say. Nothing you write will make it better. Indeed, if you write the wrong thing, you’ll make it worse. How are you supposed to respond to those kinds of stakes?

Jump ahead to these sections:

There are proper etiquette and templates for each kind of condolence. For instance, writing a condolence note or sending a sympathy card to a family member may be easier. You can include touching memories of these deceased, and how they changed your life. You can do all this because you knew the deceased and who you’re writing to. 

Tips for Writing a Condolence Message

With friends, you can reaffirm your willingness to listen to them—even if you're not sure exactly what to say after a death. You can also share memories from times you met the deceased. Offers of help, comfort food, or a listening ear make for friendly condolence notes. 

For colleagues, a level of professionalism is expected. Maybe you only know your colleague by name. You never met the deceased. Keeping these notes on the side of boilerplate is appropriate. Give an appropriate level of genuine sympathy, and you’re set. 

When writing your condolence note, remember that you’re sending a message. A message goes far beyond a note. Notes are only what you write on paper, a message is the rest of the package. If you’re close, can you call them on the phone to talk in person, too? Could you deliver them flowers, a sympathy gift basket, or put together a care package? Would it be appropriate to offer to babysit their children for a few days? If so, make an offer.

The best condolence messages are specific and complete. Don’t make a vague offer that you won’t or can’t follow up on. You’re trying to express your pain and sympathy with them. Think of what you can do to further communicate this. 

You can tailor your message based on their life situation, preferences, and faith. Maybe an offer of prayer would be very comforting. If the deceased was a primary breadwinner, tactful financial gifts would be great. Using your note as a springboard to a complete condolence message is a great start. 

Below, we’ve brainstormed 50+ messages to write to family, friends, and colleagues. No matter what the occasion, you can rise to meet it. Use these ideas, or brainstorm your own based on our text. Personalize it with your memories, add your offers of help, or adjust it to meet your faith. 

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» MORE: How do you host a virtual funeral? Start here

 

Condolence Messages for Family

Comforting family members is hard, especially when you are grieving too. These options may help you brainstorm ideas of your own.

  • I’m so heartbroken and shocked to hear about the loss of your spouse or partner. Please accept my heartfelt condolences. I’d love to know if there’s anything I can do to help. 

  • I can’t imagine the pain you’re coping with during this tragic time in your life. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this loss right now. You’re in my heart, and my thoughts and prayers are with you. 

  • I don’t have the words to express how sorry I am to hear about your loss. I’m shocked and saddened that you’re going through this unimaginable pain. If you need a shoulder to cry on, I’m here to listen whenever you need it. 

  • I’m so sorry to hear about your loved one’s recent death. Please let me do something to help you during this hard time. I’d love to bring over a meal or watch your children for a few nights. 

  • I hope you feel comforted and loved by the great memories you made with your loved one. I never met anyone like them before. I’m so happy you had such a great relationship with them. 

  • I still remember the one time I met your sister at a birthday party. She was the life of the party, always making jokes and making people feel comfortable. I’m so sorry that she’s gone. 

  • I’m so sad to hear about your aunt’s recent passing. Though I never met her, I know you loved her and had a great relationship. Keeping you in my prayers. 

  • I heard about your cousin’s death. I’m so heartbroken that you have to cope with their loss. Please let me know if I can do anything for you or your family. 

  • Your relative was so kind and welcoming. I always loved the opportunity to hang out with them. I’m keeping you in my thoughts during this tragic time. I’m so, so sorry to hear about their death. 

  • I’m so sorry to hear about your loved one’s recent death. I always met people who had good things to say about them. They left a great legacy. My thoughts and prayers are with you right now. 

  • Please accept my sympathies for your loved one’s death. He was so kind to me, and I enjoyed our time together. He left a legacy of honesty and compassion, and I’m honored I got to meet him. 

  • I’m so heartbroken and shocked to hear about their death. If you need a shoulder to cry on or help with funeral arrangements, I’m here. Whatever you need, please call me. 

  • Your sister was such an intelligent, lovely soul. I’ll never forget her. I know you have a lot of great childhood memories with her. I hope they bring a smile during this hard time. 

  • Please accept my sympathies for your cousin’s death. He was such a fun person to be around. I’ll miss him, but I’m glad I was able to meet him. Keeping you in my heart right now. 

  • Your uncle was such a lighthearted, kind person to be around. I’ll never forget the time I got to spend with him. I’m sure you have tons of great memories with him. I’m so sorry for your loss. 

  • I can’t express how sorry I am to hear about your mother’s death. I know you were very close, and I’m so sorry you’re going through this pain. Please call me if you need anything. 

  • I can’t imagine what you’re coping with right now. Please let me do something to help you out. I’d love to help with funeral arrangements, make calls for you, or even be a shoulder to cry on. 

  • Words can’t express how heartbroken I am at this tragedy. I hope you’re a little comforted by the great memories you have with your dad. I’m so glad you had a happy relationship with him. Please accept my condolences. 

Condolence Messages for Friends

Bringing up fond memories, offering help, and reaffirming your friendship are all great elements of a condolence note. If you need more inspiration, check out our full list of condolence messages for friends.

  • I’m so saddened to hear about your child’s death. I’d love to drop by your house with a meal or do something else to help you out. Please accept my condolences, and let me know if you need anything. 

  • I don’t have the words to express how crushed I am. I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother’s death. I’ll drop by your house with a meal later this week. I’ll call you tonight to set up a good time to come by. 

  • I’m so heartbroken that you’re going through this pain right now. Please accept my condolences during this sorrowful time. I’ll give you a call later today to see if you need anything or want someone to talk to. 

  • I know you have so many great memories with your sister. I hope they sustain you right now. Please accept my sincere condolences. Keeping you in my heart right now. 

  • I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Please accept my sympathies. I’m lucky I got to meet your grandfather, but I’m so sad he’s gone. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers right now. 
  • I hope you feel comforted by great memories during this tragic season. Please accept my heartfelt sympathies during this time. 

  • I’m so sorry about the difficult emotions you’re experiencing after the death of your loved one. You’re always in my thoughts and prayers. I’m hopeful that good memories and loved ones are comforting you.

  • I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I hope the memories you share with loved ones and friends is comforting. 

  • I heard about your recent loss. Please accept my heartfelt sympathies about their passing. Know that I’m keeping you in my thoughts during this very tragic time. 

  • I wanted to extend my heartfelt sympathies for the death of your loved one. My thoughts and prayers are with you right now. I’m so sorry for your loss. 

  • I am so sad to hear about your loss. Please be aware that my prayers are with you, and you’re on my mind. I hope the memories of your loved one are comforting. 

  • I heard about your loved one’s recent death. This must be a very difficult time for you, and I’m so sorry about your loss. I’m keeping you on my mind.  

  • Please accept my heartfelt condolences for the death of your relative. I’m thinking of you during this difficult, tragic time. 

  • Please accept my deepest sympathies during this tragic time. I hope the memories you’ve built with your loved one comfort you. I’m so sorry for your loss, and I’m keeping you close to mind. 

  • I’m so sorry to hear about your relative’s death. I hope that you have many loved ones to gather around you during this difficult time. Please accept my deepest condolences. 

  • I’m keeping you in my thoughts during this time. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss you experienced and am keeping you in my thoughts. 

  • Please accept my sympathies for your loved one’s death. I was so sad to hear about your loss. I’m keeping you in my thoughts. 

Condolence Messages for Colleagues 

Are you stuck on writing a professional, empathetic note? It’s hard if you never met the deceased. Read our guides on how to write a condolence email to a client or boss and try these ideas:

  • I hope you have many great, comforting memories to sustain you right now. I was heartbroken to hear about your loss. Please accept my sincere sympathies. 

  • Please accept my heartfelt condolences for your loved one’s death. I’m sure you’ll miss them dearly and am so sorry for your loss. Keeping you in my thoughts right now. 

  • I hope you feel comforted by great memories with your loved one. Please accept my heartfelt condolences. I’m keeping you in my thoughts.  

  • I’m so sorry to hear about your recent loss and that you’re going through this pain. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers these days. 

  • Please accept my heartfelt apologies for the difficult emotions you must be experiencing right now. You’re in my thoughts and prayers during this tragic time.

  • I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I’m hopeful that good memories and loved ones are comforting you right now. Keeping you on my mind. 

  • I’m hopeful that warm, loving memories are comforting you during this very difficult time. I also hope loved ones are gathering around you right now. Please accept my heartfelt sympathies. 

  • I’m so sorry about the tragedy you’re dealing with right now. Please accept my sincere condolences, and know that you’re on my mind.

  • Please accept my heartfelt condolences. I was so sad to hear about your recent loss of a loved one.

  • I heard about your heartbreaking loss. Please accept my sympathies, and know that I’m keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. 

  • Please accept my sincere condolences for your recent loss. I’m thinking of you during this difficult, heartbreaking time. 

  • I’m so heartbroken to hear about your relative’s recent passing. I hope that you have good memories and loving family members to comfort you. Please accept my sympathies. 

  • Please accept my genuine sympathies. I’m so sorry you have to cope with this awful loss. 

  • Please accept my sympathies for your loved one’s death. I was so sad to hear about your loss. I’m keeping you in my thoughts. 

  • I’m keeping you in my thoughts as you cope with this tragic loss. Please accept my condolences. 

Writing Condolence Notes 

Whether it’s adapting your tone, hitting the right notes, or offering enough comfort, condolence notes are hard to write. With the options above, you have plenty of choices. By personalizing these template options, your note is sure to be treasured.

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