While grief support is the same at its core, some strategies may be a little different depending on personality types. By knowing someone's personality type, you can better understand how they think and how they cope with grief.
Even though grief is different for everyone, knowing the characteristics of their personality type can give you some insight into what their grieving process may look like.
We'll discuss the three main personality types: introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts and how family and friends can best show their support to grieving loved ones.
Introverts and Grief
An introvert may feel drained after going to the funeral, having guests over at their home, and engaging in conversations- all while grieving a loss. While grieving, they may keep their thoughts to themselves. They're used to solving problems themselves, so they may be hesitant to reach out and ask for help. It also might take them longer to adjust and find a daily routine again.
Below are some ways you can show your support to a grieving introvert:
- Simply be there for them. Whether it's providing a listening ear or just providing some company, show that you're there to support them however they need.
- Keep inviting them to gatherings. Even though they may not be ready to be social, they'll still appreciate that you're thinking of them.
- Give them the space they need to grieve. Don't take it personally if they decline an invite, as they may need their alone time to grieve.
- Send them a kind message to let them know you're thinking about them. Or, share a happy memory of their loved one to make them smile.
- Recommend some trails in their community for taking a nature walk and offer to come along if they'd like some company.
- Offer to help with everyday tasks, such as getting groceries or mowing their lawn. Or, make them a homecooked meal. Just make sure to be specific with your offer. For example, say "I can go pick up groceries if you'd like" rather than "Let me know how I can help!" By being specific and bringing it up first, you can help them feel more comfortable if they're unsure of how to ask for help.
Extroverts and Grief
When grieving, extroverts may be more expressive with their emotions. They also may jump back into social gatherings quicker than introverts, because this is what they're used to doing and what they're comfortable with. But even though they were like being around others, they still need some alone time to grieve and reflect on their loss.
Below are a few ways you can show your support to a grieving extrovert:
- Suggest some grief support groups in your area. While you can provide a listening ear, it also might be helpful for them to talk with others who are grieving a loss.
- Ask them to tell you stories about their loved one, but don't push them if they aren't ready to talk about them.
- Offer to help them make a memorial craft to honor their loved one, such as a scrapbook or memory bear.
- Help them organize a gathering in honor of their loved one, such as a memorial lunch. It could be on their loved one's birthday or another significant day.
- Exercises like yoga can help people cope with grief, so find a local yoga class and offer to go with them if they're interested.
- Give them a call and talk to them about their loved one, the emotions they're feeling, or whatever they'd like to talk about.
Ambiverts and Grief
A combination of the above support ideas works for ambiverts. They may need some alone time but also may want to talk to others about their loved one. However, none of the ideas above are exclusive to their personality type, as they may work for anyone. You should use your best judgement to determine what support methods may best fit your loved one.
How else can you help the different personality types grieve? Share your ideas with us in the comments!