The phrase 'sorry for your loss'

(227 Posts)
Numberlock Thu 26-Sep-13 11:10:13

It's so trite, where did it come from? It seems a fairly recent thing.

I can't stand euphemisms at the best of times, what's wrong with saying 'Sorry to hear about xxxx'?

'Loss' sounds like you've misplaced a handbag or credit card...

AmberDextrous Thu 26-Sep-13 11:48:27

I just say I'm sorry to hear about so and so
Sorry for your loss sounds scripted and odd to me
But I am sure all phrases like these are said with the kindest of intentions in such situations

MrsBungle Thu 26-Sep-13 11:48:30

Also- I totally agree that it's not a recent thing. I've heard this phrase my whole life, my parents and grandparents used it.

Tee2072 Thu 26-Sep-13 11:48:54

Yes. Blame America. It's evil. Vile. Horrible place.

FFS

Some day America's going to get sick of your hate and over reactions to things 'American' and take back all of their TV, music and films.

Then you can go back to 3 channels that turn off at 7pm.

Will you be happy then?

okthen Thu 26-Sep-13 11:49:52

What's wrong with it?! Like other posters here, I think it is a good way to express sympathy. It is a loss, they are sorry about it! When my sister died I was just glad to receive the condolences. Tbh I'd find it more odd if somebody said directly 'sorry that x died' or whatever. But even then, the fact they were acknowledging the loss would be the important thing.

SilverApples Thu 26-Sep-13 11:50:25

I do find it's worse when people avoid either talking about a death, or actively avoid you because they don't know what to say or do.
However clumsy or awkward, they are trying to show that they have thought about it for a moment. Not everyone is eloquent or confident that they know how to approach the subject.

MrsDeVere Thu 26-Sep-13 11:50:59

I don't have a problem with it.
It has been in use for a long time.

People don't know what to say. I would rather they said something than nothing at all

People using it are probably wary of using the words 'death', 'died' etc.

Some bereaved people can find these words impossible in the early stages. I know people who can't bear to type xxxxx died or talk about the funeral without using f*****l instead.

So everyone is different

Sorry for your loss may seem trite and if you are newly bereaved and raw it will not be anywhere near enough to describe what you have been through.

But then, nothing is.

Its still better than the fuckers who cross the road so they don't have to even look at you

CrabbyBigBottom Thu 26-Sep-13 11:51:17

FFS how picky can you get!! hmm

When someone dies the word 'loss' is used often, I guess because it seems less harsh than 'dead' or 'died'. It is euphemistic, but then much of our language is. The point is to give someone something acceptable to say to someone who is bereaved, to express their sympathy and caring.

In my experience, bereaved people certainly do feel an enormous sense of loss, so what on earth is the problem? Is it preferable that people say nothing, or start talking about 'in a better place' or other clumsy phrases?? confused

PuppyMonkey Thu 26-Sep-13 11:52:08

My mum died yesterday and if anyone says this phrase to me over the next few days I shall remember to be really snidey to them for using such a naff phase. sad

FreudiansSlipper Thu 26-Sep-13 11:52:22

i can not see a problem with it

it is sometimes difficult to face someone who has had a recent bereavement, people are often unsure what to say but to acknowledge their feelings is important could be done with a little hug (if you know them quite well)

Rockinhippy Thu 26-Sep-13 11:52:44

YABU - it's not the words used but the meaning behind it that's important & it simply means someone has bothered to express their concern over your situation - sorting that into what's acceptable phrasing or not is ridiculous - if you'd actually had to deal with the real grief of losing a close loved one, I doubt very much that you would give a flying one as regards to the words used by someone to say. "hey I care enough to let you know that I'm concerned"

& FTR is neither Amercanised nor trite

Tee2072 Thu 26-Sep-13 11:54:05

Sorry to hear that puppy. flowers

ElleMcFearsome Thu 26-Sep-13 11:54:07

My DDs father died in May. They were horribly enraged by people saying they were sorry. I explained to them that it's usually short-hand for:

I care about you and hate to see you sad.
It's so awful that your dad has died and I wish there was something I could do to make it better.
I'm scared that if that happened to your dad it could happen to mine.
I can't imagine my dad dying and I don't know what to say.
I love you and I wish I could help.
I don't want to say 'died' in case that upsets you more.
(and other similar things).

YABU - we have many expressions in use that don't convey exactly what we mean in words of one syllable. This is a pretty mild one.

PostBellumBugsy Thu 26-Sep-13 11:54:50

Aw, Puppy - that is sad to hear. Don't read too much into threads like this - semantics aren't important. Big hug to you.

Beeyump Thu 26-Sep-13 11:55:28

thanks PuppyMonkey

FreudiansSlipper Thu 26-Sep-13 11:56:39

puppy sorry to hear about your mum thanks

PuppyMonkey Thu 26-Sep-13 11:58:44

Than you for flowerssmile

Sorry, only came on MN to do something that might distract me for a bit... Trust me to find this thread!

Bowlersarm Thu 26-Sep-13 11:59:44

Nothing wrong with it at all.

Expresses sympathy at a time of sorrow.

The trouble with your statement OP, is that a lot of people struggle to know what to say to a person who has lost someone they love through death. It is better to say something sympathetic than turn your back and say nothing at all, because you don't know what to say.

By stating something like the OP, it makes people increasingly worried and nervous about saying anything that could be construed as the wrong thing.

ElleMcFearsome Thu 26-Sep-13 12:00:16

In the interests of disclosure, the one that riles me is 'lost their fight against cancer'. How the FUCK can you be expected to fight against that, like 'oh if only you fought harder you'd still be alive' WTAF??

<breathes>

Puppy sending you thanks and condolences sad

Bowlersarm Thu 26-Sep-13 12:00:32

.....so YABVVU

LRDMaguliYaPomochTebeSRaboti Thu 26-Sep-13 12:00:56

What a sad thread.

IMO it's impossible to find the right words for everyone, but what is comforting is when people try. When my gran died I remember one of her friends on the phone launch into a conventional 'oh, she was such a sweetie' (my gran was extremely sharp and didn't suffer fools), and then awkwardly realizing she'd sounded saccharine and making it worse by adding 'well, no ... she wasn't'. grin

It could have been awful but actually it made me smile, it made her laugh a bit, and it made us both feel a bit better. No-one would recommend that as an approach but there was genuine feeling behind it so it was comforting. Same is true of any other phrase.

mrsfuzzy Thu 26-Sep-13 12:02:35

as 'sorry for your loss' is a reasonably 'new' expression what were people saying before it was invented ? i think most have enough intelligence to think of something sympathetic to say,but choose to say nothing out of feeling awkward, because noone talks openly about this subject everyone gets jittery, when my beloved gramps died someone said "i hear you lost your grandad last week" i nearly said "yes, in sainsburys but i found him again in the cheese aisle!" i'm not am unfeeling bitch but saying things like 'he fell asleep' to me sounds terrifying, death is all part and parcel of the life cycle of every living thing as hard as it is to accept, and no as a pagan i do not believe in an after life.

DoJo Thu 26-Sep-13 12:02:42

I also think that it's needlessly picky to 'dislike' a phrase which is generally used to comfort and convey support - the words don't really matter (unless they are spectacularly poorly chosen as evidenced up thread) but the sentiment of feeling for someone when they are grieving is an important one that many people would find hard to put into words, especially when they are probably emotional themselves. And it's not American, and I am another one who doesn't understand the deal with blaming them for every single perceived cultural faux pas - they really aren't responsible for most of them.

HighJinx Thu 26-Sep-13 12:04:12

I don't have a problem with people saying 'sorry for your loss.'

I think when it comes to people saying things like this it is far more about how they say it than what they say. When my mum died I remember some people's words sounded empty while others said what could be considered a trite phrase but you knew they meant every word and more.

Numberlock Thu 26-Sep-13 12:05:16

... And my mum died on Saturday, hence the thread.

Fortunately no-one 'close' has said this phrase to me.

LRDMaguliYaPomochTebeSRaboti Thu 26-Sep-13 12:06:03

It's not new, is it?

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