At some point in your life, you may need to craft a sympathy message. The message may be written on an email or card. Or you may have to greet someone at a visitation or funeral and offer your condolences. You may consider saying, “You have my sympathy” to the person in mourning but there are other phrases to consider.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- ‘You Have My Sympathy’ Messages to Send Via Text or DM
- ‘You Have My Sympathy’ Messages to Send in a Professional Email
- How to Tell Someone ‘You Have My Sympathy’ Face-to-Face
Here are other ways to express sorrow on the death of a person besides saying, “You have my sympathy.” To be clear, there is nothing wrong with the phrase, but we would like to offer you some alternatives.
‘You Have My Sympathy’ Messages to Send Via Text or DM
In the last several years, it has become the norm to offer sympathy messages via text or direct messaging. While this is not the time to test your skills on how to cheer someone up over text, it is an appropriate platform to offer condolences.
Here are some sympathy messages to send through text or DM.
1. “I’m so sorry to hear about Mike. Thinking of you and your family.”
Sympathy messages via text tend to be a little less formal than the ones written in a card. When texting someone who recently lost a family member, try to refrain from asking a lot of questions. Funeral preparations often take a lot of time and your friend may be busy making arrangements.
2. “Please know that I am thinking and praying for you and your family right now.”
Texts can act as virtual hugs. If you can’t be there in person, send a reassuring, heartfelt message. Of course, if you are saying that you pray for someone, actually pray for them.
3. “I will never forget your mom’s kindness. May she rest in peace.”
You may consider sharing stories about the person who died when you go to the visitation. People find it comforting to hear remembrances about a loved one who died. The more specific you can be with the memory, the better.
4. “Hugs to you, my friend. I am so sorry for your loss.”
Don’t feel offended if your friend doesn’t return messages for a while. There are many decisions to be made immediately after the death of a loved one. Even if your friend is comforted by your words, he or she may not be able to thank you properly.
5. “Your sister will be terribly missed. Thinking of you and the rest of your incredible family.”
Let the grieving person know that he or she is not the only person who will miss the deceased.
6. “I am truly sorry to hear about your loss. Losing a parent is never easy, and I pray that God will lay his comforting hand on you.”
You may consider offering prayers or mentioning God in the message if the person you are texting shares a similar faith. Even if you experienced a similar loss over the course of your life, try not to compare your pain with your friend’s pain.
7. “I would love to bring a meal over for your family tomorrow night.”
Some people ask others what they can do and other people offer a specific way to help. Offering to help in this manner doesn’t seem pushy, but it is specific enough to show you want to do something.
‘You Have My Sympathy’ Messages to Send in a Professional Email
Sending a sympathy message through a work email will have a much different tone than sending one via a text message. Here are ways to say, “I am sorry for your loss” to a work colleague or employee. We will also give you guidance on how to send a message to the family of a coworker who died.
8. “Please know that we are all thinking of you during this difficult time.”
You may have to send condolence messages on behalf of the entire staff. If so, you may need to include words like “all” and “everyone.”
9. “Our hearts go out to you during this time of grief.”
Just because you’re sending a professional email doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t mention feelings or emotions. Our work friends often feel like family.
10. “Please accept our sincere condolences.”
It’s proper to use the plural form of the word “condolence” when expressing sorrow to someone. Oddly enough, linguistic experts don’t seem to know where this variance of the rule originated.
11. “Frank’s kind soul and hearty laugh will never be forgotten.”
You may find yourself in the unhappy situation of sending an email upon the death of a colleague. It’s always a good idea to make positive comments on the personality of the one who died.
12. “Please allow me to extend heartfelt sympathy on behalf of your friends at the office.”
Instead of saying, “You have my sympathy,” you can also “extend” sympathy. This version sounds a bit more formal.
13. “I hope you are comforted by good memories during this difficult time.”
If you find it necessary to put a positive spin in your sympathy message, this is one way to do it.
14. “Please do not concern yourself with any work-related items. Instead, spend this time focused on your family.”
It’s always a good thing to reassure your grieving coworkers to not be concerned about work.
How to Tell Someone ‘You Have My Sympathy’ Face-to-Face
Are you preparing to go to a visitation or a funeral? Or maybe you’ll see a friend or coworker for the first time since he or she suffered a loss. Some people like to plan what they are going to say in stressful situations. Here are some words or phrases to consider when offering sympathy to someone in a face-to-face meeting.
15. “I’m so sorry about your dad.”
You may wish you could offer reassurance that things will eventually be okay, but this isn’t a good idea. The person’s life has changed forever and offering faulty reassurances is not helpful to a grieving person.
16. “I’ve been thinking about you.”
Your friend may talk about the loss, or may simply say “thank you” and change the subject. Follow your friend’s lead. Your friend may not feel able to speak about the death at that particular moment.
17. “Your dad always had the best ‘dad jokes.’ He was such a great guy!”
Consider sharing one of the jokes with the family member if you feel it would be welcomed. Chances are, your friend has heard the joke hundreds of times before and it may bring up a happy memory.
18. “I’m sorry that I never met your sister. It sounds like she was an amazing woman who accomplished a lot during her life.”
You may attend the funeral for someone you never met. But after reading the obituary and listening to the eulogy, you may feel as if you got to know the person who passed.
19. “I know how close you were to your grandma. I am so sorry, friend.”
This is a genuine condolence because it acknowledges the relationship your friend had with the deceased.
20. “I know it may feel strange to go home to an empty house tonight. I would be happy to come over and hang out with you this evening.”
Even if your offer is refused the first time, consider extending the offer multiple times before giving up on it. Your friend doesn’t know what it will feel like to be in an empty house after losing a loved one and he or she may appreciate the company after the second or third night alone.
21. “I love you!”
Tell your friend how you feel. Life is too short not to say, “I love you” to the people who are important to you.
How Do You Show Someone You Care?
The art of the sympathy message is simply showing someone that you care. This can be done by what you say and what you do.
If you worry about coming up with the right words, consider doing something that shows you care. Attend the funeral, send a plant, provide a meal, send a card, or donate to the memorial fund.
You can also check up on your friend more often than you usually do. You can stop by with a cup of coffee, ask your friend to go to a movie or invite your friend out for a meal.
It may take time before your friend can open up and talk about a death. Be patient and don’t force the matter.
At the same time, don’t avoid the subject, either. Eventually, your friend will be ready to share memories or explain what it was like to go through such a trauma. Let your friend take the lead on what is appropriate.