Thursday, October 31, 2013
Tumblr has a Selfies at Funerals page that contains a collection of cell phone self-portraits taken during memorial services. This insensitive practice raises the question of what exactly is proper funeral etiquette. Lizzie Post of the Emily Post Institute provides some answers.
First of all, she says selfies at a funeral are never OK and photos in general are probably not a good idea on this somber day. As for clothing, it’s still best to stick with darker colors when attending a funeral.
A basic phrase for comfort is “I’m so sorry for your loss.” Including a fond memory will usually comfort those closet to the departed as well. Avoid saying things like “I hope he had life insurance,” “it was time for him to go,” and “he suffered so much.” Also, instead of vague offers like “call me if you need anything,” extend a specific offer like “I’d love to cook for you next week” or “would you like me to take care of the kids during the funeral?”
Regarding food, it’s up to the host to decide whether to serve food or not. Try to get a feel for how the memorial service is set up before bringing food. And finally, turn that cell phone off!
See Melonyce McAfee, Long Live Etiquette: ‘Selfies at Funerals’ on Tumblr Must Die, CNN, Oct. 30, 2013.