A Sympathy Template
You know what I wish there was? A template for difficult emails or phone calls. We have all been there. That email or call you want to make when a friend's loved one is sick, or their dog died, or any number of horrible things that happen to good people. Lately, I've been struggling with reaching out to friends who have lost their jobs. These emails or calls are hard because you want to be optimistic but you also want to recognize that what your friend is going through is difficult. You want to offer good advice, but sometimes that is the last thing a person dealing with a tragedy wants to hear.
I don't mean to sound callous or lazy by asking for this kind of template. Each of our friends deserves a personalized, heartfelt note, at the very least! But think of how many times you haven't reached out to a friend going through a tough time because you didn't know exactly what to say.
Come to think of it...even if there is a template out there, I don't think we should use it. If you are not sure exactly what to write or say, the only thing that you need to make clear to your friend is that you care about them, that you are thinking about them, and that you are there for whatever they need, even if it is just to listen.