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PHBT: Appropriate Thing to Say/Etiquette


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#1 Howie

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 05:17 AM

I have a business acquaintance who lost a child a couple of months ago.

I’ve spent some time with this guy and his wife at business dinners and what not over the years. I like them both very much, but I wouldn’t say I know them well enough to be considered a personal friend.

Anyway, I could not attend the funeral because of work obligations and the fact that it was several hours away (though several of my coworkers did attend).

I’ll be seeing them next week at a business function. Since I didn’t attend the funeral, and it’s now been a couple of months, what’s the proper etiquette here?

A simple hand shake/hug and an “I’m so sorry”?

Edited by Howie, 14 June 2019 - 05:27 AM.

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#2 dagomike

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 05:26 AM

A compassionate how are you doing and how can you help.


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#3 ER Pemberton

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 07:22 AM

A compassionate how are you doing and how can you help.

Yeah, How are you doing? or a How have you been? could work with the right expression on your face and a handshake and/or hug.  I'm terrible with things like this especially if it's a child.  There are no words, really.  If it's a 98 year old parent or grandparent, that's different.  Good luck, you'll do fine.

#4 Vagus

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 08:27 AM

How r u holding up?


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#5 ER Pemberton

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 09:10 AM

How r u holding up?

See, I might say that but the idea in my mind is to acknowledge the situation without bringing back too many feelings.  I would hate to ask "how are you holding up" and see them both start crying.  That said, "How are you holding up" does seem reasonable.  I either think too hard about it or not enough.  :D



#6 TonyBrown

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 09:19 AM

so this just happened.  honestly, aside from a "how are you doing?" I wouldn't really say much.  I lost a brother, my cousin lost a young son, I watched first hand how parents handle it.  there are good days and bad days (a lot more bad than good).  if they are having a good day you dont want to do something that is going to turn the day for the worse.

 

if they respond with something along the lines of 'kinda rough' or anything that indicates that they are struggling in that moment, then proceed to offer condolences and ask if there's anything you can do?  maybe offer a night out with the guys to get his mind off of it even if its only for a couple hours so he can breathe.  probably would have to wait until things calm down after a few weeks or month before he'd take you up on it.  Tension between him and his wife is going to really bad for a while, so they are going to need to spend time together for a while before he can get a night away from it.


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#7 BrewerGeorge

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 10:33 AM

I don't think I'd mention it at all, considering your description of the relationship.  Not even a carefully nuanced, "How are you?"

 

Offer condolences if anything he says hints of bringing it up, but let him have a "normal" function if he wants one, too.



#8 Brian72

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 10:36 AM

If the business function is in Kansas you might want to jerk him off..
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#9 ER Pemberton

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 10:38 AM

I don't think I'd mention it at all, considering your description of the relationship.  Not even a carefully nuanced, "How are you?"

 

Offer condolences if anything he says hints of bringing it up, but let him have a "normal" function if he wants one, too.

Agree.  



#10 jimdkc

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 05:34 PM

I don't think I'd mention it at all, considering your description of the relationship.  Not even a carefully nuanced, "How are you?"

 

Offer condolences if anything he says hints of bringing it up, but let him have a "normal" function if he wants one, too.

 

 

This. I don't think every situation requires a comment. Personally, if it was me, I'd be happier if people just didn't mention it. If it's brought up, I'd offer condolences, of course.


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#11 djinkc

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 05:39 PM

I don't think I'd mention it at all, considering your description of the relationship.  Not even a carefully nuanced, "How are you?"

 

Offer condolences if anything he says hints of bringing it up, but let him have a "normal" function if he wants one, too.

 

 

If the business function is in Kansas you might want to jerk him off..

 

Pretty much a coin toss.

 

George is right though


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#12 ER Pemberton

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 05:40 PM

There is a large family that lives near us and we had a lot of contact with them with school, sports, orchestra, etc.  One of their sons died at 6 years old, I believe.  The wake service was unbelievable.  Pictures everywhere.  One of the pictures was the kid flipping the bird to the camera which made everyone laugh through their tears.   Not a dry eye in the house.  We waited in line to see the parents for a good hour or so.  I agreed at that point to say as little as possible because I can only feck things up more with more words.  There was nothing I could possibly say at that point and it's not about me anyway so I just hugged them both and said I'm so sorry.  



#13 Howie

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 05:45 AM

See, I might say that but the idea in my mind is to acknowledge the situation without bringing back too many feelings. I would hate to ask "how are you holding up" and see them both start crying.


Yeah, I was wondering about this.

Or the response in their mind being “we just lost our child, how do you think we are holding up?”

Appreciate the input from everyone. They are wonderful people. Wish I had been able to attend the funeral.
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