Get Well and Sympathy Greeting Card Etiquette: What to Write

Greeting cards are inexpensive yet thoughtful ways to show someone you care. This is especially important during a difficult time, whether a friend’s loved one has passed away or is experiencing an illness.

When to Send Get Well Cards

Get Well CardGet well cards are appropriate for many things, whether you want to send one to a family member with a terrible cold, someone who just had surgery, or someone enduring a long-term illness or chronic problem. If you are sending a card to someone with a chronic condition, only send one during a relapse, since chronic illnesses aren’t always bothersome every day.

Sending get well cards is a simple gesture that can really brighten someone’s day. Being sick or recovering from surgery is never pleasurable, so knowing that friends and family care really helps in recovery.

When to Send Sympathy Cards

The death of a loved one is usually at the top of the list for reasons to send sympathy cards, but there are other occasions for sending one as well. A person who has lost his job, for example, might appreciate a sympathetic yet encouraging card. You can also send an appropriate sympathy card for the loss of a pet, a friend going through divorce, or someone experiencing a difficult time, perhaps dealing with a sick relative or tough family situation. In general, these last few events should be reserved for family or close friends who wouldn’t view your card as an intrusion.

Get Well Etiquette

When sending a get well card, keep in mind the reason and the person when choosing your card. A humorous card is often appropriate and appreciated unless that person is battling a terminal illness or an extreme loss, such as paralysis. In these cases, a thoughtful card that doesn’t dwell on getting better or preach about a positive outlook will be best. Just let the person know you care and are thinking about him during this time with a heartfelt message.

Sympathy Etiquette

Sympathy Greeting CardA condolence sympathy card should be short and simple since the person will likely receive numerous sympathy cards and won’t be in the state of mind to comprehend a long message. Messages like “with our deepest sympathy” or “you’re in our prayers” are also appropriate. Mention the deceased by name, even if you didn’t know him very well, and always sign your full name. If you have a fond memory of the deceased, this is a good time to mention it.

Refrain from choosing an overly religious sympathy card unless the person shares that religion. Death can evoke many emotions, and sending a card that upsets the person will only make this time worse. Do not write or buy cards that include phrases like “time heals all wounds” or “it was his time to go.”

For any type of sympathy or get well card, a specific offer of help is always appreciated. Following these guidelines will ensure you express yourself appropriately to friends or family in pain and hopefully succeed in brightening an unhappy day.

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