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  1. Home
  2. John Tesh: Advice for Every Occasion
  3. Social Media Etiquette for Sympathy

Sympathy Etiquette And Social Media

by John Tesh | Intelligence for Your Life

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These days, social media is a big part of how we communicate. But when a friend has a death in the family, or a loved one passes away, how should you handle it on social media?

Psychotherapist Hilda Burke has this advice: First of all, follow the lead of the person who’s grieving. If they haven’t said anything on Facebook, neither should you. But if they have posted something, is it appropriate to react with a crying face emoji or make a comment? Burke says yes. But follow these guidelines:

1. Keep your message brief. Burke also says "don’t showboat." There’s no need to prove to the world how close you were to the deceased with a long, detailed post about all the moments you shared together. If you know the person well enough to write something longer, you should send it in a private message.

2. Don’t ask about funeral arrangements in a public Facebook post. Make that private too.

3. When acknowledging the news, stick to the medium through which you received the information. If you found out about the death on social media, rather than receiving a call, that means for whatever reason that person either didn’t want to, or didn’t have time, to reach out to you personally. So when acknowledging the news, stick to the medium through which you received the information. Therefore, if you got a call, return the call. If you didn’t, respond online and wait to call so the person isn’t overwhelmed. You can send a text, but don’t make them make time for YOU until they’re ready.

John Tesh Is a 6-time Emmy winning musician, TV and Radio broadcaster. He broadcasts the Intelligence for Your Life radio and TV shows speaking about topics including Health, Love, Sleep, Workplace and Pets.