Responding to Sympathy: What can my friend say to the many condolences she has received?

Q: A friend of mine just lost her baby at 38 weeks of pregnancy.  She has received many condolences, yet doesn’t know how to respond.  Giving an “It’s okay,” is making her uncomfortable because it isn’t OK.  She feels completely the opposite.  How can she give a response without giving all the details?



A: Your friend shouldn’t be expected to say “It’s okay,” nor does she have to go into details.  She may simply write or say something along the line of “Thank you for your kind words. Your caring and support mean a lot to me.”


  1. JLL

    Question: I’ve been invited to an outside wedding on an estate in California for 4:00 pm. Date is September 20th. I know not to wear black, but are black shoes and clutch acceptable. Any suggestions on what to wear or not to wear.

    • Elizabeth

      Many people consider black to be a perfectly acceptable color to wear to a wedding, especially if it’s a cocktail dress and could not possibly be mistaken for funeral attire. In any case, a black clutch and shoes are fine. Since it is an outdoor wedding, you will not be expected to wear a floor-length gown or anything that formal. Tea length or cocktail length are good, and you would also want to bring a jacket or wrap, as I can imagine it would get chilly as the sun sets.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      That is totally fine. The rule about black is just that your outfit can’t be predominantly black, but a patterned dress that includes black for example would be fine as long as people wouldn’t likely describe you as “the woman wearing black.” Black accessories are fine.

    • Jody

      I agree with Elizabeth here. A few years ago I was invited to a wedding on the first weekend in October. It was an evening wedding and servicemembers were invited to wear dress uniform. Several of the ladies wore black or dark dresses and fit in beautifully (I wore a black skirt with a yellow and black top).

    • Alicia

      Black shoes and purse are fine. Do consider that you might be walking on grass or gravel and thus very thin heels are likely to dig into ground and cause issues.

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