Did your best friend ever ask you, “Will you do the eulogy for my funeral?” Or sadly, maybe you have to imagine how that conversation would have gone because your friend has already died.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Step 1: Ask About Parameters
- Step 2: Don’t Procrastinate
- Step 3: Create a Soothing Workspace
- Step 4: Have a Brainstorming Session
- Step 5: Keep Audience and Tone in Mind
- Step 6: Put a Personal Touch on Your Eulogy
- Step 7: Practice, Practice, Practice
- Example Eulogies for a Best Friend
Whether you and your friend actually got to have that conversation, you may now be faced with your friend’s celebration of life or church ceremony (in just days!) — and you’ve never spoken at a funeral before.
Don’t skid to a halt because you’ve never thought about how to write a eulogy. Here, we’ll break down the steps you can take to craft a special eulogy for your best friend. We’ll also share some short eulogy examples to inspire you.
Step 1: Ask About Parameters
Eulogies can vary in length and depend on a number of factors. Overall, keeping them between three and five minutes is generally considered good funeral etiquette.
Be sure to confirm that with the funeral director or with the family member coordinating the service. Family members may ask you to keep yours shorter if several people are giving eulogies. Understand the guidelines to help guide you.
Step 2: Don’t Procrastinate
Dealing with the death of your best friend is deeply emotional and traumatic. It may be difficult to gather the strength to sit down and write a tribute. But the longer you put it off, the more pressure you’ll end up putting on yourself. You’ll likely only have a few days to prepare a eulogy, so putting it off even by one day can put you in an enormous time crunch.
The good news is that the act of writing a eulogy can be very cathartic. Revisiting positive memories of your friend can bring you peace and comfort during this dark time.
Step 3: Create a Soothing Workspace
Even under the best of circumstances, writing can be difficult. Most writers have to take the time to set up a workspace that inspires their creativity. This is especially important when writing something as personal and emotional as a eulogy. Here are some specific areas you can pay attention to:
- Lighting: Some people do their best writing with natural daylight streaming through the curtains. Others prefer writing in a warm, cozily-lit atmosphere. Pick the lighting that you think will most inspire you.
- Create background noise (or get rid of it entirely): Some people enjoy listening to music while they write. Others like having the TV on low volume. Others require absolute silence. Figure out what works best for you.
- Declutter your workspace: It can be difficult to focus on writing when you’re feeling stressed out. A messy work area can create anxiety. Clearing it off can serve as a metaphorical wiping of the slate to help clear chaos from your mind.
Step 4: Have a Brainstorming Session
Authors don’t write books sprung, fully-formed, from their minds. They often write multiple drafts that go through different stages of editing. A eulogy is no different. Odds are, you won’t be able to write a flawless eulogy on your first attempt.
Instead, start by brainstorming what you might want to include in your eulogy. Jot down certain stories that encapsulate the spirit and personality of your best friend. Once you’ve done that, put together an outline. Then, when it’s time to actually begin writing, you’ll set yourself up for success.
Step 5: Keep Audience and Tone in Mind
Not all end-of-life services are created equal. A eulogy for a funeral may be a lot more somber in tone than a eulogy at a celebration of life service. There’s nothing inherently wrong about injecting a eulogy with a little bit of humor. But it shouldn’t be a stand-up comedy routine.
Conversely, you also want to avoid emotions that are intensely negative. If you’re sad or even angry about the death of your friend, try not to let that overpower your eulogy. A eulogy should celebrate a person’s life — you don’t want it to make people feel even more devastated.
Step 6: Put a Personal Touch on Your Eulogy
When a friend is asked to give a eulogy, it’s because the family values your relationship with the deceased. They also likely value your perspective. They know you’ll be able to share stories about the deceased that most other people don’t know.
Fill your eulogy with personalized details about your best friend. Try to choose stories that highlight your friend’s personality, which will keep your eulogy from being too generic. People will appreciate the specificity you can bring.
Step 7: Practice, Practice, Practice
As we stated earlier, a eulogy is typically expected to be between three and five minutes long. It’s important to practice ahead of time so you can make sure your eulogy is clocking in at the correct time.
Reading it in your head isn’t enough. You need to read it out loud to make sure you’re speaking at the right speed. Most people speak too quickly when they get nervous. When you read it out loud, you can also mark any places where you may need to pause for a breath or a sip of water. Run through it enough times that you feel very comfortable delivering in front of a room full of people.
Don’t worry about memorizing it, though. No matter how well you know it, it’s always best to have a printed copy of your eulogy. Nerves and grief might throw you off course.
Example Eulogies for a Best Friend
Now that we’ve broken down how to write a eulogy, we’d like to share some examples of eulogies written for a close friend. These may help inspire you as you write your own. Remember to draw on your personal shared experiences with the deceased. This will help your eulogy resonate.
Example for a best friend
“I was a military brat growing up. I bounced around from city to city. I went to a new school almost every year. After a while, I kind of gave up on making friends. I didn’t see the point when I would just have to leave them behind.
"I met Tyler in 7th grade. He was warm and welcoming, but I ignored his attempts to befriend me. Finally, I told him he shouldn’t waste his time because I’d just be leaving soon. He said, ‘So what? Even if you move away, we can still be friends.’ And from that day forward, we were. When I left again, we stayed in touch through the internet. When I got a cellphone, he was the first person I texted. I hope he knows that even though he’s no longer with us, he’s still my best friend. He always believed that no distance between us was too far for our friendship. Now I believe it, too.”
Example for a best friend and sibling
“Growing up, I always used to hear my friends complain about their annoying little sisters or overbearing older brothers. I never understood how people could dislike their siblings so much. Vanessa was always more than a sister to me; she was my best friend.
"When I had problems at school, she had my back. When I needed advice, she always had thoughtful things to say. When I was feeling down, she knew just what to say to cheer me up. I couldn’t have asked for a more loving or supportive sister or friend.”
Example for a best friend from childhood
“Eric and I grew up next door to one another. In fact, our bedroom windows faced each other. We took that opportunity to treat every night like a slumber party. We taught ourselves Morse code and used flashlights to send each other messages.
"When I got a pair of walkie-talkies for Christmas, I immediately gave one to Eric so we could talk to each other after lights out. When we realized we were going to the same college, we immediately decided to room together. After all, we’d felt like we’d been sharing a room for practically our entire lives. Eric was more than a best friend; he was like the brother I never had.”
Example for a best friend who died young
“It’s been a year now since we lost Rebecca. Not a day has gone by where she hasn’t been sorely missed. However, I feel like she’s with me in everything I do. It would be easy for me to be bitter about all the things she didn’t get to experience. On my bad days, I am angry that she was taken from us too soon. But as time has passed, I have found that it’s easier to hold her in my heart during every milestone. I believe that she’s sharing our experiences in some way.
"Our victories are her victories because we all carry a piece of her with us. She accomplished so much in her short time on earth. As long as we keep her memory alive, she’ll continue to be part of our own accomplishments.”
Write Your Best Friend’s Eulogy
Losing your best friend is an incredibly difficult thing to face. But giving a eulogy for a friend can be a great way to find solace and pay tribute to one of your most favorite people. It also gives you an opportunity to reflect on your friendship.