How Funeral Directors Confuse Being Nice With Being Kind

When it comes to customers funeral directors are often the nicest people. But being nice and being kind are two different things. It takes courage to be kind. There is risk to it. You don’t really have to be more than just agreeable to be nice. Smile, never say anything bad about anybody and NEVER, EVER be controversial or confrontative. But to do this you don’t need to care…really care….about people. You just have to be diligent in avoiding conflict.

Being kind takes skill, tact and most of all a true desire to help people. You really have to care. You can be nice but not kind. You cannot be kind and NOT care. The difference is caring. You see, caring causes you to want people you care about to do what is best for them. and that means helping them avoid mistakes. It means sometimes having the courage to risk conflict to point out where their actions might cause regrets.

As experts in death care you know what is right and wrong. What will help and what has potential for harm. Being kind is about informing people of the risks of a given action. Two examples:

  1. We all know that an hour’s visitation prior to a funeral rarely works. People don’t show up until the last minute, the family doesn’t have time to interact with everyone they want to and they are forced to endure 45 minutes of anxiety worrying about whether anyone is coming. We should tell them that and make suggestions that might remedy the situation like a brief reception (2 hours) following the service.
  2. We all know that cremation families often experience a need to permanently memorialize their loved one. Unfortunately, they usually don’t realize this until weeks, months or years after the death. When a family tells you they want to scatter the ashes (that’s the word they use) we should warn them of this risk. We should offer options like reserving some of the ashes in case there is a need to permanently memorialize.

Basically, being kind is telling people the truth…even if they don’t want to hear it. You will be surprised how much people appreciate you for it.

By |2018-01-25T20:11:21-04:00August 11th, 2014|Blog, CUSTOMERS: Getting and Keeping Them, The Creedy Commentary|3 Comments


  1. Howard Beckham August 12, 2014 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for your insights!

  2. Bruce Buchanan August 12, 2014 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    One of my close friends from grade school lost his father this year. His father was a minister who had performed perhaps thousands of funerals over the years and told his children NOT to have one of him. When my friend came to have us perform the cremation I urged him to have a reception of some form, so the thousands of people his father has touched over the years could say their goodbyes. He said no. Did I do my duty by tactfully confronting him with this missed opportunity. Absolutely.

    • Alan Creedy
      Alan Creedy August 12, 2014 at 2:20 pm - Reply

      Bruce, doing the right thing often takes courage. Thank you for taking that opportunity. I wonder if he wishes he had agreed with you now.

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