Simple Guide to Writing Condolences in Email

Published January 25, 2021
Man writing an email

Writing a condolences email is a quick way to reach out to someone to show them you are thinking of them during this difficult time. When sending a condolence email, it's important that your email reflects the type of relationship you have with the recipient.

Condolences Email

If you are writing a condolence email to someone who you have a close or moderately intimate relationship with, you may also consider sending them a condolence card and/or a sympathy gift. If you are sending the email to someone who you don't know well or don't have a particularly close relationship with, just sending an email is perfectly appropriate.

How to Express Sympathy in an Email

When expressing sympathy in an email, there are a few simple steps you may opt to follow.

  • Write an appropriate subject line.
  • Address the recipient in a respectful way that coincides with the type of relationship and level of intimacy.
  • Express your condolences.
  • Mention the loss specifically.
  • Add a line or two about the deceased individual if you knew them.
  • Write a sympathy message sign off that is sincere.

How Do You Start a Condolence Message?

When writing a condolence message it's best to begin with "Dear." It's suitable for any situation and is a warmer way to address the recipient versus "To." However, you will need to consider how you will write the recipient's name. If you are on a first name basis, then write their first name or a nickname that you call them by. If you are on more formal terms with the recipient, address them by their appropriate title (Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss, Dr., etc.).

Subject Line for Condolence Email

When writing the subject line for a condolence email, it's best to keep it brief and kind. Examples of subject lines for condolence emails:

  • With Sympathy
  • My Condolences
  • My Deepest Sympathy
  • Thinking of You
  • Checking in
  • So Sorry for Your Loss

Sample Condolence Emails

Using a sample condolence email as a template can help you get started if you feel stuck and aren't sure how to begin your email. Be sure to begin your email with "Dear" and add an appropriate sign off.

Woman contemplating computer screen

How Do You Write a Professional Condolence Email?

If you would like to send a condolence email to a business contact, a coworker, or your boss, you may consider saying the following in the body of your email:

  • I am saddened to hear of the loss of your (insert relationship to deceased individual). Although I didn't know (insert deceased individual's name), I know how amazing (inset preferred gender pronoun) was based on hearing you speak about (insert preferred gender pronoun). Know that I am thinking of you during this time.
  • I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your (insert relationship to deceased individual). Based on my few interactions with (insert deceased individual's name), I know just how special (insert preferred gender pronoun) was. (Insert preferred gender pronoun) always made it a point to ask me how I was doing and was such a kind and genuine person. (Insert preferred gender pronoun) will be deeply missed. Please reach out if there's anything I can do for you during this time.

Condolence Email to Colleague

If a colleague has just lost someone, you can consider sending them an email that reads:

  • I am deeply saddened to hear about the loss of your (insert relationship to deceased individual). I want to pass along my sincerest condolences to you and your family during this time. Please let me know if there's anything I can do.
  • I recently learned about the loss of your (insert relationship to deceased individual). I wanted to reach out and let you know I am thinking of you and your family during this time. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you need anything.

Short Condolence Message to Client

If your client has experienced a loss, you can say:

  • I wanted to reach out and pass along my sympathies for the recent loss of your (insert relationship to deceased individual). Please reach out if there is anything I can do at this time.
  • I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your (insert relationship to deceased individual). I want to pass along my sincerest condolences to you and your family during this time.

Condolence Email to Employee

If your employee has recently lost a loved one, you can write:

  • I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your (insert relationship to deceased individual). Please don't hesitate to take the time off you need to process this loss. Know that everyone here at (insert company's name) is here to support you during this time.
  • I want to pass along my sincerest condolences for the loss of your (insert relationship to deceased individual). Please don't hesitate to reach out if there's anything I can do for you. Human resources will be connecting with you to see what support you need during this time. Again, please accept my deepest sympathies.

Condolence Email for Friend or Family Member

If a friend or family member has lost a loved one and you normally communicate via email, you can say:

Woman reading from tablet
  • I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your (insert relationship to deceased individual). I know just how incredible (insert deceased individual's name) was, and I will miss (insert preferred gender pronoun) every day. I loved how (insert preferred gender pronoun) had the ability to make anyone laugh and had just the most amazing sense of humor. Please let me know if there's anything I can do for you. I'll check in with you in a few days.
  • I am saddened to hear about the loss of your (insert relationship to deceased individual). (Insert name of deceased individual) was an incredible person who will be missed by many. I've sent over some goodies, so be on the lookout for those over the next few days. I'm thinking of you.

Keep in mind, email tends to be the least intimate way to connect with someone so if you are really close with someone and don't normally send them emails, you may opt to connect with a phone call or sympathy text instead. However, if you do speak with them via email, then it's totally acceptable to send them a condolence email, but you may want to follow up with another email, text, or phone call, and/or send them a sympathy card or gift in the mail as well.

How Do You Write a Simple Condolences Message?

When writing a condolence message:

  • Be sincere and keep your message short.
  • Avoid mentioning anything religious or offering advice.
  • Avoid saying you know how they feel or can't imagine how they feel.
  • Be sure to write an appropriate subject line, address the recipient respectfully, and sign off.
  • Be mindful of your relationship with the recipient when writing the email.

Sending a Condolence Email

Sending a condolence email is a thoughtful and quick way to reach out to someone who has just experienced a loss.

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Simple Guide to Writing Condolences in Email