Times aren’t what they used to be, and neither is social etiquette. What was once deemed inappropriate has evolved into everyday normal behavior and mannerisms. With the innovative technologies available today, proper manners and social etiquette can be confusing. When it comes to the death of a friend or loved one, modern day manners are different than before, and there are a new set of guidelines to learn for attending a funeral in the twenty first century. Continue reading for advice regarding appropriate manners and etiquette at a funeral or following the loss of a friend or family member.
Not everyone is expected to wear black to funerals these days. In fact, some families request that guests avoid wearing all black. But this does not mean you should wear something flagrant or brightly colored either. Neon’s, patterns, and bright colors are tending today, but should not be worn at a funeral. Stick with something neutral or calming, like blues, greens, blushes, beiges, and warm colors. At the same time, be modest. Fashion these days are showing more and more skin, which can be liberating and beautiful, but never appropriate for a funeral ceremony. Avoid crop tops, short skirts, cocktail dresses, cleavage-bearing blouses, see-through shirts, and tight clothing.
🌹 Reaching Out
Before, sending flowers and a card was the appropriate way to send the message that you are sorry for someone’s loss and have them in your thoughts. Even a phone call or visit to their home was perceived as the appropriate action to take after learning of someone’s death. But today, people are compelled to send text messages and emails, which can be highly disrespectful, lack sincerity, or come off as insensitive. Stick to personable means of communicating to someone after they have lost someone close to them, like a phone call or in-person visit, a card, letter, or flowers. Be sure that the bereaved are ready to have visitors before coming over. They may not be in the right state of mind to see people just yet, in which case, a phone call or letter would be best.
🌹 Guest Etiquette
Once at the funeral home, be sure to leave your electronics in the car or turn them on silent. A noisy phone can be distracting and disrespectful at a funeral. Also, always sign the guest book. This means more to the bereaved than you might think. And it is the proper thing to do if attending a funeral. The family feels good reading through who attended and how they knew the deceased.
🌹 What to Say
As for greeting the bereft, keep your apologies short and sincere. Sometimes, saying less is better. Simply let the bereaved know you are sorry for their loss and perhaps tell a nice story about a fond memory of the deceased. This means a lot to the family and can help them cope better with their loved one’s death. In other cases, simply holding their hand and saying nothing is the best way to be there for someone that has lost a close friend or relative. Let them know you are here for them and ask them what you can do for them. A little errand or dropping off dinner are small gestures that truly mean the most and help the most for someone suffering from a recent loss.