6 Etiquette Pointers to Keep in Mind While Attending a Funeral
No one really likes to organize or attend a funeral or cremation ceremony but they are an unfortunate truth in our lives. While people are quite at ease at joyful events, they don’t quite know how to conduct themselves at sorrowful ones like funerals. To avoid any sort of awkwardness and to clear your doubts about what is acceptable and what’s not, have a look at these etiquette pointers.
1. Wear sober black clothing
It is customary as per long standing tradition that you wear black attire to the funeral ceremony. The dress needs to be formal so a straight cut black dress, trousers, skirt and shirt or top in black will do just fine. Dark gray is also acceptable in lieu of black. Make sure the ebony shaded attire you wear doesn’t have any bright designs or other colors on them and are plain.
2. Don’t over think about what to say
People get their knickers in a twist thinking about what to say and how to offer condolences without making it seem awkward for themselves as well as the others. You don’t need to stay for more than 15 minutes or so for your presence alone shows that you care and are there for the deceased even after death. However, do not leave during the prayers and it would be best to get some flowers or a condolence card if you are feeling awkward to visit the bereaved. Using your own words, express your sympathy. Kind words about the deceased are always appropriate. Depending on your relationship with the family, you may say something like, “I am so sorry about XYZ. He was a good friend and I will miss him very much.”
3. Don’t give advice
Funerals are not the place for dispensing advice, no matter how well meaning they may seem in your head. The family members of the deceased will manage stuff as they wish and may find unasked advice undesirable. As a well wisher who is not a family member, make sure you offer only two things: your condolences and your support or help.
4. Don’t skip a funeral unless you have really urgent work
It does not reflect well on you if you choose to give a funeral of a close person, a miss. People will start identifying you as a careless and heartless person if you do so. Good etiquette demands that you visit the funeral under any circumstances, especially if you have been personally invited. Unless you are out of town on urgent work or are bed ridden yourself, there is really no excuse that works for not attending a funeral.
5. Express your condolences the right way
Upon arrival, go to the family, and express your sympathy with an embrace or by offering your hands. Don’t feel as though you must avoid talking about the person who has died as talking can help the grieving process begin. Offer a simple statement of condolence, such as “I’m so sorry. My sympathies to you and your family,” or “Your grandmother was a fine person. She will be missed by many.” If you were an acquaintance of the deceased but not well-known to the family, immediately introduce yourself. You may say something like, “Hello, we have not met, but XYZ and I worked together several years ago. My name is so and so.”
6. Don’t be loud
A funeral is a sober and sacred occasion. Avoid talking loudly, cracking jokes, or saying inappropriate things. This is not the time to be drawing attention to yourself. Show your respect for the person who has passed and behave in a manner that is acceptable to all present.
7. Offer to help
Always offer to help the bereaved in whatever way you can. This is the time when they need people’s support and aid. Most times, the family of the deceased doesn’t have any food out of grief. Get them some food and egg them to eat. Make them comfortable enough to ask you for any sort of help they would need in the aftermath of the passing away of their loved one.