sympathy cards

Avoid These Sympathy Card Mistakes

A sympathy card after the loss of a loved one can either help someone navigate the grieving process or it can hinder the grieving process. Take time and care to compose your card carefully, and avoid the following common sympathy card mistakes.

Avoid These Sympathy Card Mistakes

Writing Nothing:

While short and sweet is sometimes the way to go, but this rule doesn’t apply to sympathy cards. Sending a card that includes nothing but the  printed verse and your signature is too abrupt. Take the opportunity to write something comforting. Even if you didn’t personally know the person who passed away, a simple, “thinking of you today,” can mean the world to someone who’s grieving.

Writing Too Much:

Were you best friends with the person who passed? If so, then it’s perfectly okay to be a little nostalgic. Something like, “I’m sharing your feelings of sorrow and loss,” or, “I’ll never forget him because of the special kind of person he was,” is appropriate for a close friend. However, if you didn’t personally know the deceased,  don’t try to fake it. In this instance, resorting to a more formal declaration such as, “I’m so sorry for your loss” is a better choice.

Sending Prayers:

Many people find it comforting to know you’re praying for them, but there are just as many people who won’t find this comforting at all. If you’re unsure of the person receiving your card’s beliefs, keep it secular. Send wishes for peace and comfort. Don’t send prayers unless you’re certain they’ll be well received.

It takes tactful consideration to send a well-written sympathy card. The simplest way to succeed is to know what not to say. If you master this talent, your cards will be spot-on every time.

1 thought on “Avoid These Sympathy Card Mistakes”

  1. Sarah & Dale Ward

    Aaron & Connee became our neighbors much too late in our life. We enjoyed their company only too briefly. We will and do miss Aaron’s delightful demeanor and physical presence. Our deepest sympathies are with Connee and the family.

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Deanna Clingerman


Deanna Clingerman, MSSA, LSW is an aspiring funeral director/embalmer with a lifelong interest in funeral service. She holds degrees in Psychology and Sociology from Youngstown State University and Masters of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University. After a rewarding career in Social Work, she attended Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science to realize her dream of becoming an embalmer and funeral director. She has worked in the Akron-Canton area for most of her funeral service career. She is the location manager and a funeral director for Cleveland Jewish Funerals.