Knowing what to say when someone says sorry for your loss can be incredibly difficult in the moment.
Losing someone is a traumatic and emotional experience, and you’re probably anxious about how to let people know you appreciate their condolences.
In this article, I’m going to list 15 responses you can use when someone says something like “I’m sorry for your loss”:
What to Say When Someone Says Sorry for Your Loss – 15 Responses
1. “Thank you, I appreciate that.”
This is probably the most common response to ‘sorry for your loss’ and is a quick and simple way to acknowledge their sentiment without getting into a conversation.
2. “That’s very kind of you.”
This is a polite way to say thank you and let them know that their condolences are appreciated.
3. “Thanks for your support, it means a lot to me.”
This response is perfect for people who are close to you and have been supportive during your time of grieving. It shows that you value their support and are close to them.
4. “Your sympathy means a lot at this time.”
This is a great response for people who are not as close to you, such as work colleagues or acquaintances. It’s a polite way to say thank you without getting too personal.
5. “Thanks, I’m still never sure what to say, but I appreciate it.”
This response is perfect for when you’re caught off guard by someone’s condolences or just want to be honest about not knowing what to say.
It shows that you appreciate their sentiment but are still struggling with what to say yourself.
6. “[Name] thought a lot of you, I appreciate you being here.”
This response is perfect for when you want to acknowledge the person you lost would have appreciated this person’s kind words, it adds a more personal touch to your response.
7. “It’s OK, I feel fortunate to have shared so many years with [name].”
This response is great for when you want to focus on the positive and remember the happy memories you shared with the person you lost. It’s a good way to keep their memory alive.
8. “Thanks – how have you been doing?”
If the person saying sorry for your loss was also close to the person who passed you can turn it around and ask them how they’re holding up.
9. “It’s still so hard, but it helps to know you’re here.”
This is a great response for when you want to let the person know that their support means a lot, even though it’s still hard to cope with the loss.
10. “Thanks for being a great friend, it means a lot to me.”
This is a good way of letting the person know that you appreciate them as a friend without getting into the details of how you’re feeling right now.
11. “Thanks, I’ll pass on your best wishes to the rest of the family, too.”
This response is perfect for when you want to let the person know that their condolences will be shared with other family members who are grieving.
12. “Thanks, on behalf of all the family, that means a lot.”
This is a way you can speak on behalf of your family and let the person know that everyone would appreciate their condolences and kind words during this time.
13. “I still can’t believe it, I don’t think it’s hit me yet.”
This is a common response to ‘sorry for your loss’ and is a way of showing that you’re still in shock and struggling to come to terms with everything that’s going on in your life right now.
14. “Thanks, I know you understand what I’m going through.”
This response is perfect for when you want to let the person know that you appreciate their understanding and support during this difficult time and acknowledge that they’ve also lost someone close to them.
15. “I appreciate it, I hope you’ll join us in celebrating all the good times.”
This response is perfect for when you want to focus on the positive and remember all the happy memories you shared with the person you lost. It’s a great way to turn a sober comment into something happy.
Should You Always Say ‘Thank You’ When Someone Says ‘Sorry for Your Loss’?
If you were overwhelmed in the moment and later realize you didn’t thank someone when they said they were sorry for your loss, don’t stress about it.
You don’t have to say ‘thank you’ explicitly, any of the responses above without the words ‘thank you‘ will suffice.
As long as you’re acknowledging that they’re offering you their condolences that’s fine.
Plus, if you did say (or didn’t say) something you wanted to, they’re going to understand that you’re grieving right now and have a lot on your mind.
The most important thing is that you let them know you appreciate their support.
You can always catch up with them in the weeks following when you’re back to thinking more clearly.
Why Is It So Difficult to Reply to Sorry for Your Loss?
It’s often hard to know what to say when someone says they’re sorry for your loss because it’s such an emotionally charged time.
You might be feeling a range of emotions from sadness and anger to denial and numbness or just be dealing with a ‘brain fog’ that isn’t unusual when you’re going through an emotional event.
It’s OK to not have all the answers in the moment and to take some time to think about what you want to say.
If you’re struggling to come up with a response, it’s OK to just say ‘thank you’ and move on.
I know how monotonous this feels when you’re constantly answering the same question in the same way, but it’s totally fine.
The most important thing is that you let the person know you appreciate their support and that they’re there for you.
And if you’re still struggling to cope with your loss, don’t hesitate to reach out for help from friends and family, or even a grief counselor or therapist.
Talking about how you’re feeling is going to have the biggest impact on how quickly, and how well you deal with your grief and all the emotions you’re feeling.
Image credits – Photo by Ryan Crotty on Unsplash
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.