Manner Monday®: What to say to someone who just suffered loss due to a natural disaster

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by Carey Sue Vega in Business Etiquette, Manner Monday, Manners

Wow, between hurricanes Harvey and Irma, I think it’s safe to say everyone knows someone who was affected.  Between Houston, the Caribbean islands, Florida, and – who knows where else by the time Irma runs out of steam – we’re seeing so much devastation it’s hard not to worry about our friends and family in those areas.

For someone who has been affected by the disasters and is dealing with the aftermath, it’s comforting to hear from loved ones.  But for those of us wanting to say something but not quite sure ‘what’ to say… I thought I’d share some tips.

It’s important that you say ‘something’.  Don’t over worry about what to say so much that you don’t communicate at all.  Facebook makes it easy to ‘comment’ on your friends page.  But think about going that extra step and sending an email or even snail mail (if you have an address for them that is safe and you know they will receive the mail).  Snail mail adds a special touch to your comments in that it shows an extra level of care in that you took the time to sit down and put pen to paper.  An email is great, but if you can shoot them a card or handwritten note – that’s huge.

What should I write?  Start by acknowledging the persons loss and situation.  Express your concern and close with empathy.

Maybe something along the lines of:

“Wow, I am so sorry to hear about the heartbreaking losses you have experienced through the Hurricane. I cannot begin to imagine the frustration and pain you are experiencing. Please know that you are heavy on my mind and I am thinking of you. I wish you the best possible outcome as you navigate this very difficult time.”

Then make a note on your calendar to then follow up with them in 4-6 weeks.  After a few weeks have passed, everyone else will be back to their regular schedules while your friend could use a pick-me-up with a check-in from you – letting them know you’re thinking of them.

Do you have a ‘manner’ or question you would like to see covered next week in Manner Monday?  Feel free to send me your thoughts, I would love to hear from you.

My goal is to help my students (both youth and adults) to feel more comfortable and confident in the social and professional skills; do you know someone who would enjoy this post?  If so, please share it and encourage them to sign up to receive Manner Monday?  I would appreciate it!  And if you’re new to Manner Monday, I’d love for you to take a minute to learn more about why I started it. You can click here to read my very first post that tells all about it.

Thanks for reading!
Carey Sue


In other news….

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Business Etiquette Training and other Workshops
Would you like to schedule a workshop or presentation? I have a variety of workshops that can be customized to fit your needs and would love to work with your organization, Click Here to access the Business Section of the website.  Or please call or email for more information, 405-721-1467 or Here are just a few of the workshop topics:

  • Etiquette and the Generations – understanding ‘those guys’
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  • ‘Dude You’re Rude!’ Interoffice civility awareness and team building
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  • Professional Dress
  • Trade Show Booth Training


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