Chapter 3: How others respond to your friend’s death


After my friend died, there were a lot of surprises. People I expected to be there weren’t, and people I never thought to count on stepped up. You never know how someone’s death will affect other people.

Your friend’s death will affect other people and your relationships with them in various ways. Keep in mind that other people who knew your friend will be grieving too, although their grief may look or sound different from yours. It can be confusing if you are not all emotionally in the same place, at the same time.

If you notice that you are comparing your grief or your relationship with the person who died with those of other people, keep in mind that everyone grieves in their own way and at their own pace, and that each of you had their own, unique relationship with your friend.


Try to let people know what you need from them while also keeping their grief in mind. Your needs may change from day to day, or even moment to moment. Most people want to know how they can support you but will likely not know how to do it. Be open and honest in letting them know what is and is not helpful – for example, if you need them to listen and not give advice, or simply provide some distraction from your grief. Look for people with whom you can give and receive support.