What's the right thing to say?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by applekid, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. applekid macrumors 68020

    Jul 3, 2003
    My boss's mother recently passed away. My boss hasn't been at for the last couple of weeks because of this, but we're expecting her to return tomorrow.

    I'm not really good at saying the right thing at times like these. Any suggestions? "I'm sorry about your mother" or "Sorry about your loss" just doesn't seem appropriate.
  2. epochblue macrumors 68000


    Aug 12, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    That's a tough one, but I would imagine that your boss coming back means he/she probably doesn't want to talk much about it. Work provides a nice distraction from that kind thing for lots of people, and I think a simple "I'm sorry about your loss" is perfectly appropriate. Just make sure you don't harp on it.
  3. tobefirst macrumors 68040


    Jan 24, 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    There really isn't a whole lot else you can say. "I'm sorry for your loss" or "My condolences" and a "If there is anything I can do, let me know" is really all there is.
  4. walangij macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2007
    There's a great podcast for things like this. It's Mr. Manners, episode 31 covers this topic. He suggests not alienating someone first and foremost, then goes deeper if you actually knew the person and other situations. What others have already said are the same as this guy says too.
  5. atszyman macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2003
    The Dallas 'burbs
    If you're prepared to back it up, "I'm sorry for your loss, let me know if there is anything I can do for you." can go a long way.

    I lost a close cousin, suddenly, in February. I informed my boss early in the week that I would be out late this week/early next week, with no exposition into why. I needed work to be a distraction that week. After leaving I sent a link to the website set up by his widow's boss to explain my absence.

    When I returned a week later I had one co-worker offer "if there's anything I can do" and it meant a lot, I never actually called in any favors, but the offer was greatly appreciated.
  6. DerekS macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2007
  7. iRachel macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2005
    The Soybean Captial of the World
    I think a simple - "nice to have you back" is fine. If you want to express your condolences, a simple, thoughtful note or card left on her desk might also work. This lets her know you care while avoiding the awkwardness of trying to talk about it in person.
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Bingo. Don't bother with the "I'm sorry for your loss" stuff. Save that. You may be thinking it, but the 1st day back on the job isn't a good time to hear it.

    Either say "It's great to have you back, boss", or tell her that you're sorry for her loss and want to pass your condolences, but written on a nice card. Have it placed on her desk if possible, or if she has a mailbox/cubby hole for mail, then put it in there and don't bring it up when you see her. :)
  9. applekid thread starter macrumors 68020

    Jul 3, 2003
    I'll go with the "It's good to see you back." It's more upbeat. Thanks for the advice, guys. :)
  10. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    Well the wrong thing would definitely be playing Suicidal Tendencies' "I saw your Mommy"...

    I'd go with "Good to have you back" myself.

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