Are you going to a funeral to support a friend?
I’m sure you’re a little anxious, in particular about how your friend is dealing with their grief.
This is totally normal.
I want to say that it’s great you’re supporting your friend in this way by going with them, and I’m sure it means the world to them.
To help you out and make the experience smoother, here are some ways you can better support your friend and some funeral etiquette tips to be aware of:
Why Going to A Funeral to Support a Friend Is so Important
If a friend has asked you to accompany them to a funeral or you’ve offered because you know it’s going to help them, you’re an awesome friend.
Funerals are tough, for obvious reasons.
For some, funerals are more difficult than others, and some people are better than others at dealing with their emotions.
What you can be sure of is that your friend is going through one of the hardest experiences they will ever face, and they need all the support they can get.
By being there for them, you’re not only helping them deal with their grief, but you’re also helping to ease their load.
And that’s pretty amazing.
Funeral Etiquette – 10 Tips
If you’ve not been to a funeral before or just aren’t sure what to do or what to expect, here are some common funeral etiquette and best practices to be aware of:
1. Dress Appropriately
This first one is pretty simple, but an important point nonetheless.
Your friend will likely let you know what the dress code is, but if not, it’s generally best to err on the side of formality and go with dark, muted colors.
2. Things to Bring with You
Again, your friend may have already told you what they need or want you to bring with you.
But if not, it’s generally a good idea to bring tissues (for you and your friend), and some change to make a donation.
3. Ask Where to Sit if You’re Not Sure
If you’re not sure where to sit, it’s totally fine to ask.
Most likely, your friend will want to sit near the front, so you can follow their lead.
But seating is often something that’s planned out for various family members so it’s something to be aware of.
4. Turn Off Your Phone!
This one is important.
Noone at the funeral service wants to hear cell phones going off or have any other distractions.
5. Make Sure You Won’t Need a Bathroom Break
This is another tip that might come in handy, don’t forget to visit the bathroom before going in and taking your seat.
You don’t want to be the person who has to get up and shuffle out of a row during the service.
Neither do you want to sit with your legs tightly crossed if you’re desperate for a bathroom break.
6. Offer Your Condolences Before and After the Service
When you see your friend’s family members, it’s always a good idea to offer your condolences.
You can do this before the service starts, as well as after it ends.
7. Turn up Early
It might seem like an obvious one, but it’s worth mentioning that you need to be prompt.
Turning up early gives you time to chat with your friend and also gives you time to make sure any last-minute things are done.
8. Find Out If They Want Flowers Before Buying Them
If you’re considering buying your friend flowers, it’s a good idea to check with them first.
Some people prefer not to have flowers at funerals nowadays, so it’s always best to ask.
There might be something else they’d prefer, and it’s always good etiquette to ask.
9. Step up And Help Others Where Possible
If you’re attending a funeral to help and support your friend, don’t be shy about stepping in and helping them out.
If they have any things to do, are struggling with getting everyone, or are just generally reserved on the day, step in and help.
10. Thank the Celebrant and Others Involved in The Service
When the service is over, it’s always nice to take a moment to thank the celebrant or anyone else who was involved.
This might be the priest, rabbi, or other officiant.
It’s also a nice way to show your appreciation for their time and effort in making the service happen.
Other Ways You Can Help Support Your Friend
In addition to accompanying your friend to a funeral, there are many other ways you can help them during this difficult time.
Some of the things you should consider are:
- Helping them with any practical tasks that need to be done
- Being there to listen to them talk about their loved one or anything else they’re going through
- Offering to take care of anything they have at home or going on in their lives
- Checking in on them regularly in the days and weeks after the funeral
- Giving them your condolences and being mindful about making sure they know you’re there for them
At the end of the day, you’re going to a funeral to support a friend and that’s a huge deal in itself.
The fact that they asked you shows how much they value you as a friend.
So, I’m sure that if you just be yourself everything will go just fine and your friend will be much happier for having you as a friend.
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.