Recently I was asked if sending a condolence email is acceptable. As with most things, it depends on the circumstances.
Condolence emails should be the last resort and only if you have a purely virtual relationship. With virtual relationships you tend to not have any reason to know the other person’s physical address to send them a formal card.
Based on that response I was asked what would be the best wording for a condolence email? Taking into consideration that most folks are “not good with words.”
The relationship at hand will tend to determine which words you would be comfortable using. The closer you are, the more personal your verbiage would be.
Condolences shouldn’t be templated or copy-n-pasted.
With that said, you can search the web for condolence examples and cards. There are tons of websites with all kinds of suggestions that you can personalize.
However, when it comes to offering sincere condolences it is always best to send a formal condolence card and not use email for such an important communication. Email is not meant to replace every single communication after all.
The loss of a loved one is one of those times when those who want to show they really do care do so in a way that is genuine. By taking the time to choose, sign, hand-write the envelope and purchase a stamp.
Making this effort reflects your truly sincere condolences because you made that extra effort. Receiving your card via snail mail with your signature within will give more comfort and solace than any email ever could.
Sincerity is Reflected by Actions
Don’t know the person’s physical address? Do a search based on information you do have. You’ll probably be able to find their address so that you can comfort them with an actual card.
If you are not good with words, an old fashioned condolence card can do that for you. Find a card that is inline with your feelings and sign it. No additional words are necessary.
Making these efforts will let the grieving party know your condolences are truly sincere. Much better than just popping off an email where personal actions by those who care can make all the difference in the world.