19 Rude Things You Must Never Ever Do at a Funeral

A funeral is a solemn, intimate, and private event where showing respect is a no-brainer. So, to ensure you honor the deceased and give support to their loved ones, you must avoid certain actions or behaviors that could be labeled insensitive or disrespectful. We’ve gathered the top 19 big no-nos when you’re attending a funeral, so read on!

Don’t Unwarrantedly Ask About the Cause of Death

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Even when the funeral is already taking place, the family might still not be ready to face reality—and that includes being confronted by their loved one’s cause of death. Any question related to the death can come across as something extremely insensitive. Some might even take offense and consider it as you trying to overstep their boundaries and privacy.

Don’t Take Photos and Videos

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Funerals are very private and personal events. Chances are, if you’ve been invited, you are a close and important family member. If so, you should understand that they need the time to grieve properly. Cunningham Turch Funeral Home notes, “Such delicate moments call for sensitivity, not photoshoots; unplanned clicks can stir up unnecessary tensions or intrude on personal grief.”

Don’t Dress Inappropriately

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How you dress tells people much about you and your character, and dressing appropriately is needed, not just at funerals. There are times when you have to dress a certain way: your graduation ceremony, your work interview, your strict corporate job, and, yes, funerals. When you wear something inappropriate or improper, you communicate that you lack respect or regard for the gravity of the event you’re attending. Your outfit can draw attention away from the focus of honoring the deceased, and that’s not something you should ever do.

Don’t Wear Loud, Excessive Jewelry and Accessories

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Similar to how dressing inappropriately grabs the attention of the event, wearing loud and excessive accessories does the same. Wearing jewelry per se is not bad, but if you want to do it, stick to the classics. Simple studs, necklaces, bracelets, or a broach will do. You may also wear a piece of jewelry given to you by the deceased as a way to honor them, but in general, keep it clean and simple.

Don’t Be Tardy

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Tardiness is a sign of disrespect and disregard for another person’s time, regardless of the situation. However, being late for a funeral is rude and unacceptable! Hutchison Funeral Home says, “Being late for a funeral service is practically unforgivable. If you absolutely have to be late due to circumstances that are beyond your control, try to enter from a side aisle as opposed to going down the center, and, if the processional has already begun, wait outside.”

Don’t Talk and Gossip During the Service

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The most important thing at a funeral is to show respect to the deceased and their family members. You might be distracting the family or other guests if you’re talking during a service. Worse, if you’re gossiping about the deceased themselves or members of their family, then you might want to rethink your actions and even attendance. A funeral service, after all, has no space for people who cannot even give the deceased peace and respect.

Don’t Bring Uninvited Guests

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Just as how plus-ones aren’t welcomed at weddings, uninvited guests are also not regarded with delight at funerals. Funerals aren’t happy events where you can party, eat, and dance the night away; they are intimate gatherings for the people who are important to the deceased. Before you bring anyone, make sure you clear it with the family first. If they say no, then understand that they mean no!

Don’t Use Your Phone for Extended Periods

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If you’ve been invited to someone’s funeral, then it means you were important to the deceased or are important to one of the mourning family members. So, if you decide to attend it, you must also commit yourself and your time to it, and one way of doing this is by avoiding prolonged phone use—especially when what you’re doing on your phone isn’t even important. Sometimes, simply glancing at your phone may communicate to others that you’re not wholly present in the event, which is disrespectful and insensitive.

Don’t Monopolize the Grieving Family’s Time

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We get it; you want to ask your friend what happened to their family member, comfort them, and make them feel you’re there for them. All these things are highly appreciated, but even so, they don’t give you the license to hog their time. Let them meet with other people and talk to other guests!

Don’t Make Comments About the Deceased Person’s Appearance

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Funerals are all about respect, honor, and love. There’s simply no room for hate and negativity in a room already clouded by sadness. Even if your comment was meant to be a lighthearted joke, remember that the people around you are grieving. They might take things the wrong way and, worse, internalize what you’ve said about their deceased loved one!

Don’t Yawn Excessively, No Matter How Tired You Are

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Yawning has, for most of history, come with a lot of negative connotations as it’s been believed to be a sign of boredom. It’s also interpreted as something disrespectful when done in the presence of others—like at a funeral. However, yawning is hard to avoid, especially when you’re tired and knee-deep in funeral preparations and activities. Even so, try to keep it at a minimum; maybe you can take deeper breaths and exhale slowly when you feel like a yawn is coming.

Don’t Disregard Seating Arrangements or “Rules”

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Sometimes, when you arrive at a funeral, there are simply a lot of seats open, or perhaps you want to sit beside someone you know. However, it’s best to remember that although there are no concrete seating plans, there are certain practices you must adhere to. Rosedale Funeral Home explains, “Traditionally, the seating at the front is reserved for the close family of the deceased, and this should always be observed. The remaining seats can then be filled but remember it’s best to start from the middle so the close family are not left at the front of their own.”

Don’t Overstay Your Welcome

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Though people outside the immediate family are invited to funeral services, one thing remains true: it’s still an intimate family event. You should never overstay your welcome; instead, be more mindful of the mourning family’s needs. You should also never linger around the funeral home unless a family member specifically asks you to do so. No matter what, the most important thing to do is to give the family the space and time they need to grieve and mourn properly and privately.

Don’t Rush to Leave

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Although it’s not advised to overstay your welcome, you must also find a balance! Rushing to leave right after the service can also be seen as a sign of disrespect. Instead of immediately leaving, you can stay around for a few minutes and offer the family your condolences.

Don’t Overindulge in Eating or Drinking

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Not all funeral services include catering or a meal. However, if the one you’re attending does, make sure you don’t overindulge. You can eat, but remember that it’s not a party. You can drink, but remember that drinking in moderation is key—especially at an event like a funeral.

Don’t Forget to Offer Your Condolences

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Funerals can get pretty hectic if you’re part of the family of the deceased. Though it may seem solemn and peaceful on the outside, family members are going through all sorts of chaotic emotions on the inside, and perhaps even if they see you, they can’t feel the comfort your presence is giving, or they can also forget because of everything that’s happening. Because of this, aside from attending the service, you must also take the time to speak with your friend or relative. Howe-Peterson Funeral Home & Cremation Services explains, “It’s important to express sympathy for their loss; this means acknowledging the reality of the bereaved’s pain and the absence they’re experiencing—it is a way of saying, ‘I see your pain, and I am here for you.’”

Don’t Forget to Sign the Guestbook

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Not all families leave guestbooks during funeral services. However, if the funeral you’ve attended has one, it’s proper etiquette to sign it. It’s the family’s way of keeping track of those who grieved with them—of those who took the time out of their busy lives to show their support and pay respects to their deceased loved one. At times, the family uses the guestbook as a reference for those they need to send thank you cards to.

Don’t Bring Inappropriate Flowers, Donations, or “Gifts”

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Funeral attendees are not required to bring anything as a “gift” for the family, but many people send flowers, funeral donations, and the like. If you’re thinking of getting something to a funeral you’re attending, make sure you’re not bringing anything inappropriate or disrespectful. For example, if you bring flowers, make sure they’re not brightly colored or fragrant, like red roses.

Don’t Disregard the Procession Etiquette

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If you disregard the procession etiquette at a funeral, you disrespect the deceased and the family. The grieving family members are already in pain and are significantly affected by the loss they’re facing. Disregarding the procession etiquette may disrupt the event’s solemnity, causing even more distress and emotional pain. No matter what you do, always be mindful of your actions, as you might be making it harder for the bereaved rather than offering them support.

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The Bible’s teachings are classic and timeless, yet many Christian practices have veered away from its core principles over time. Today, we’re exploring 20 prevalent Christian practices that stand in contrast to the Scripture and the Bible. Understanding them will give us a deeper and more thorough understanding of how certain traditions may diverge from Christianity’s foundational beliefs. Read on and find some things you might need to reflect on!

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Sadly, some Christians might not realize that their behavior is offending non-Christians. Their hypocritical and judgmental behaviors can be off-putting, pushing others to get annoyed and irritated with them. So, if you’re a Christian who wants to improve how others perceive your institution as a whole, read through to the end of this list to identify some key behaviors or habits you need to avoid!

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Author: Karen Danao


Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.