9 Simple Things to Say When Someone Says "Sorry for Your Loss"

Responding to someone who's giving their condolences is all about showing you appreciate that they're thinking of you.

Published June 22, 2023
Young man comforting sad woman

Conversations surrounding loss can be a little on the tricky side - whether you're the one expressing your condolences or the one accepting them. It's not always easy to know what to say when someone says "sorry for your loss," especially if you're in the midst of grieving.

Fortunately, as the person experiencing the loss, you get a pass for any possible social awkwardness. And we've got you covered with some good responses you can give if you want to be prepared.

How to Respond to "Sorry for Your Loss" in Person

Friends hugging

The thing about "sorry for your loss" is that it's a fairly generic condolence. It's not the wrong thing to say when someone dies, but it's not super personal either. If someone says it in person, they may not know you well or just may not be sure what to say. Responding graciously can help smooth over this potentially awkward moment. Try these options:

  • "Thank you. I really appreciate your thoughts."
  • "Thanks. It's been rough."
  • "That means a lot. Thank you."
  • "It's been a hard time, so that means a lot."
  • "I appreciate that."
  • "Thank you for showing your support. I really appreciate it."
Quick Tip

It's not your job to put someone else at ease in this situation, so if you don't feel up to giving them a response like these, it's okay. Just say what you are able to.

What to Say When Someone Says "Sorry for Your Loss" Online or in a Text

Sad and tired woman lying in bed with phone

"Sorry for your loss" is a much more common thing to say in a text or as a comment on someone's post. You might also see it as a message in an online memorial.

If "sorry for your loss" is all someone writes, you can keep your response very simple and just thank them using one of the in-person ideas above. If they say more, it's nice to personalize your response to show you appreciate their words. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Use the person's name. "Thanks, Sarah. It means a lot that you're thinking of me."
  • Include a connection to the person who passed away. "Thanks. Jim really loved the time you guys spent together volunteering."
  • Tell them you appreciate them reaching out. "Thank you. It means a lot to hear from you."
Quick Tip

If a the person offering condolences is someone you don't know super well or only know as a work acquaintance, you can keep your response general. A simple "thank you" is totally fine here.

What About if You're Too Overwhelmed With Grief?

Grief can be difficult to predict, and it's not the same for everyone. If you're struggling, it's very important to cut yourself slack and realize you may not be able to fully respond to every sympathy message the way you ordinarily might.

Online, just liking the message is okay. People will understand. And if you're in person and can't manage talking right now, it's completely okay to have another family member help with responding to the condolences.

Thank Them for Caring

Ultimately, what you say when someone says "sorry for your loss" really just means one thing: thanking them for caring. How you say it is up to you, and there's no wrong answer here. You're going through a lot right now, so try to be kind to yourself and know you're going to respond in the best way you can.

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9 Simple Things to Say When Someone Says "Sorry for Your Loss"