While it is never a task that you look forward to, writing a sympathy letter does not have to be that difficult. You want to show your respect and send your condolences when a friend, business associate or even your boss suffers a loss. A sympathy letter can be written in several ways, depending on the circumstances. Always be sincere and genuine, and avoid writing things you really do not mean. Let the recipient know that you are there should they need anything during their time of loss.
1. Type your letter if the recipient is a business associate. While it is fine to hand-write your letter if sending to a close friend, it is best to type it if the recipient is a business acquaintance or someone in management where you work.
2. Try to be thoughtful and sensitive. Never use phrases in your sympathy letter such as “I know how you feel”, or “now Susie is better off”. You do not know how the recipient feels, and they may not agree that Susie is better off.
3. Express your regret. Always let the recipient know that you are sorry for their loss. If you knew the person who passed well, share an old memory. This will help the recipient understand that their loved one will be remembered.
A sympathy letter does not have to be long; in fact, it’s better if you keep it short and sincere.
Sample sympathy letter
Dear (your friend’s name, or Mr./Mrs./Miss followed by last name if recipient is business associate or someone in management where you work),
State in your first paragraph that you were saddened to hear about the loss, and that you want to express your sympathy for the recipient’s loss.
If you knew the deceased, go on in the body of the letter to share a favorite memory or talk briefly about time you spent with the deceased. Never include any bad memories, and avoid making statements like “I will keep you in my prayers” unless you really mean it. Simple statements such as “We are thinking of you” or “Let us know if we can help in any way” are thoughtful and comforting.
In closing, express once more that you are sorry for the recipient’s loss, and that they should let you know if there is anything at all you can do to help.
Sincerely, Love, or Best Wishes (whichever works best for the situation),
The most important aspect of writing a sympathy letter that will touch the heart of the recipient is to be genuine. The tips and sample above will help you craft a letter that is meaningful and shows your thoughts and respect are with the recipient during their time of loss.