What do you write in a condolence note?
January 23, 2007 11:57 PM   Subscribe

What to write in a condolence note to the boss?

This is someone I like very much, whose mother passed away. I'm not very good at writing these types of things, and have, thankfully, never had the occasion to receive them. What does one actually say in a condolence note?
posted by agent99 to Human Relations (6 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Usually something along the lines of "I am very sorry for your loss" is sufficient... Unless you are friends with your boss outside of work, there's really no need to write a long flowery note... The gesture of sympathy is what's important, not how well it's written.
posted by amyms at 12:04 AM on January 24, 2007

I agree with amyms. Sincerity and simplicty are the keys. Don't use trite phrases. Something like

"My condolences to you and your family in your grief at the loss of your mother. My thoughts are with you now, and in the days to come."

might work.
posted by paulsc at 12:06 AM on January 24, 2007

They are usually pretty short. Give your sincere condolences, and I include either a short, positive memory of the departed. If you don't have one of those, mention somethign positive the addressee had told you about.

Googling "writing condolence letters" returns a lot of good advice.
posted by Ookseer at 12:08 AM on January 24, 2007

Best answer: a traditional school of thought in these instances is the following (i've written what i might use, given that i'm a girl and my boss is a guy close to my age and demographic, who i really like- maybe this is a bit chummy for your situation, but maybe it's editable):

1. acknowledge the loss, using the name if appropriate
"dear B, i was so sad to hear about your mother's sudden death."

2. express sympathy:
"it must be so difficult; i've been thinking of you and my heart goes out to you."

3. say something nice about the mom if you met her:
"i remember the staff barbecue last year- your mom made the best cornbread, and told such funny stories about you as a kid (locking the budgie in the fridge!). she was so incredibly warm and fun that day, i really enjoyed meeting her."

4. remind your boss of his own individual strength:
"B, i've always admired your ability to be strong in the face of tough times, so i know you'll come through this okay, but i wanted to let you know that i and everyone else here are thinking of you and sending good jedi vibes your way."

5. offer help:
"if there's anything i can help with- don't hesitate to let me know.
please don't be shy. ###-####."

6. sign off with affection:
"big hug, agent99."

good luck. you're nice to care.
posted by twistofrhyme at 12:20 AM on January 24, 2007 [14 favorites]

twistofrhyme nailed it. Even the "jedi vibes" thing. They'll get plenty of somber notes. It never hurts to smile.
posted by ColdChef at 8:38 AM on January 24, 2007

Emily Post and Amy Vanderbuilt might help in how to say it, but the fact that you say (or write) something is key. Just say what's in your heart. All expressions of sympathy will be appreciated.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 12:38 PM on January 24, 2007

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