There are so many cultures and traditions out there in the world, and while it is beautiful to learn more about them, it is nearly impossible to create some universal guidelines for the etiquette of attending a funeral service. However, there is some general advice about funeral etiquette and how to behave during the attendance of a service. In general, funeral etiquette or social graces are common rules to help you navigate through different social situations during a funeral.
In general, you should use your common sense to help you through any situation. But unless you have been to many different funeral services, it can still cause some anxiety on the proper way that you should act. Here, we will try and help you get a better understanding of the basic rules for the proper funeral behaviour. This includes what to say, how to behave and what to wear.
Proper Funeral Etiquette
If you are unsure of how to behave at a funeral, it is best to watch, listen and follow the lead of others. For many services there will be an officiant or group of people in charge of leading the services. If you have questions about what you should be doing you should ask them. If you cannot speak with them then try and look around at what other people are doing and try to follow their lead.
If you become uncomfortable at any point, try your best not to cause a scene. Remember, you are only there to support the family and to say your goodbyes to the deceased. You don’t want to make the focus about you and one of the most important rules to follow is for you to be as discreet as possible and be respectful of others at the service.
Speaking of respect, be sure to leave your mobile phone in your car or turned off. You won’t want to interrupt the service with someone calling you in the middle of it. Always remember why you are there. If you have any questions or concerns, you can always get in touch with the funeral director or a staff member.
What to Say at a Funeral
You might find that you are struggling to find the right words to say when giving your condolences. A good idea is to always keep things short and be sincere. The family will most likely be speaking with many different people over the course of the day so they won’t be able to talk with you for a long period of time. There are no rules about what you should or should not say. If you are completely stumped, then simply saying that you are sorry for their loss is fine. If you feel like it you can share your short stories or memories that you shared with the individual who passed.
While you socialize with other guests, try not to be too loud or disruptive. The focus should be on sharing and listening to stories about the deceased.