Avoid the impulse to give a grieving person space. Reach out without the expectation of a prompt reply, says etiquette expert Margaret Shepherd. When it comes to acknowledging death, we’re often puerile and ill at ease. Despite being desperate to console a loved one, we find ourselves anxious and stammering for the right words. Margaret Shepherd, author of The Art of Civilized Conversation: A Guide to Expressing Yourself with Style and Grace, believes talking about death is still taboo in Western society because many people have never had to deal with it directly. “It happens in a hospital or when they’re not there, so they’re talking about something they don’t know about personally and it makes them uncertain, ” she explains in a call from her home in Boston. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-Seven Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 19 Going Incognito We all secretly wonder what mischief we’d make if invisible: When our identity is hidden, everything seems possible. Arts & Culture Issue 19 The Best Policy Sometimes we talk to each other without feeling heard. Honesty—a most intimate interaction—can be just as thrilling as its more devious inverse. Arts & Culture Issue 19 A Sense of Suspense With unhinged imaginations and mountains of cliff-hangers, the filmmakers behind the sci-fi podcast Limetown have all the makings of a scary story. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Like Clockwork In this new column about time, we learn how slipping off our watches makes us feel like deadline-damning renegades. Arts & Culture Music Issue 19 On a Grander Scale Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna now may live on the opposite side of the globe, but she’s determined to evolve while staying true to her roots. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Neighborhood: Fire Stations The firefighting profession has evolved over time from Ancient Rome’s rudimentary bucket brigades to today’s sleek life-saving departments.