How to Eulogize a Person That You Did Not Like

A eulogy is a time to pay tribute to a person that you knew and loved, whether that be a close family member or friend. It is a time to share with a funeral service audience the relationship you had with the recently deceased and what a wonderful and fulfilled life that that person lead. But what if that person did not in fact lead a very fulfilled life? What if you didn’t even like the person that has passed? You might feel like you have been saddled with the burden of writing a speech where you have to pretend to like someone and you have no idea how to do that. Of course, this is not an optimal situation, but unfortunately it is something that does in fact occur on occasion and that you need to know how to handle it if in fact it happens to you. eulogy-someone-not-liked If you are the person who has been chosen to deliver such a eulogy and your relationship or lack thereof with the deceased is well known to the family, then all other options have most likely been exhausted. If other options for speakers have not been considered, then do that. However, for our purposes here, we will be assuming that you are the last and only option to eulogize the recently departed. Though this is indeed a very difficult task, it still needs to be accomplished. Every person deserves to be eulogized, even if you don’t think that is the case. Below we have listed some things to make your eulogy writing journey go as smoothly as possible.

Say only positive things

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This is absolutely not the appropriate forum to air your distaste for the deceased. Think carefully about the person that you will be eulogizing. Though there may be a lot of negative memories that come to mind, you can usually find at least a few small positive things about even the most unsavory of people. These positive things don’t have to be huge personality traits either. The aim of the eulogy is to say anything good that you can think of. When speaking of a person that was not among the most liked or most fulfilled humans, no positive thought is too small or trivial.Your aunt’s house always smelled nice? Write that down! Your neighbor’s clothes were always neat? That will work! Record every tiny detail that you can think of on a piece of paper. If you find yourself struggling, then think of anyone that you can talk to in order to gain some more material. We have already discussed how there are no family members or close friends of the person that has perished, but maybe there were people that they interacted with on a regular basis that might be able to provide some information.Might there be a priest, a butcher, a librarian, even a neighbor that you could ask? You never know. Just because you never noticed much positive about the deceased doesn’t mean that other people didn’t. Just try and see what you can find out, you never know what helpful material you might find. The more information that you have, the easier the writing will be.

Speak in broad, stereotypical statements

Now if you are writing a eulogy to someone that you were in fact close with, then do not follow this advice! This technique should only be used if you are desperate for things to say. If you give a cliché funeral speech about someone that you knew and loved, then you are throwing away a wonderful opportunity to speak about an amazing life that was lived the fullest. That is not what we are working on today.  At this moment, we are discussing how to write a eulogy for someone that you did not care for. In the instance that you are urgently searching for positive things to say, then you may rely on a few stereotypical statements that are often said about the deceased. In this case, the more general the statement, the better. Remember, the funeral attendants knew the deceased. As such, don’t say anything that isn’t true; rather, use broad statements that can be applied to pretty much any person.

Keep it short

The speech should be concise and to the point. No need to draw out the eulogy when you are grasping for things to say.

If all else fails

Find a poem or religious saying that is appropriate for a funeral. If you recite the poem or saying in its entirety, it will take up a good portion of your speech. This will lessen the amount of words that you have to come up with. Here are two potential funeral appropriate poems. Though there are many more that could serve the same purpose.


Remember me when I am gone away, Gone far away into the silent land; When you can go no more hold me by the hand, Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day You tell me of our future that you planned: Only remember me; you understand It will be late to counsel then or pray. Yet if you should forget me for a while And afterwards remember, do not grieve: For if the darkness and corruption leave A vestige of the thoughts that once I had, Better by far you should forget and smile Than that you should remember and be sad. Christina Rossetti, British poet

Don’t Cry for me

Don’t cry for me now I have died, for I’m still here I’m by your side, My body’s gone but my soul’s is here, please don’t shed another tear, I am still here I’m all around, only my body lies in the ground. I am the snowflake that kisses your nose, I am the frost, that nips your toes. I am the sun ,bringing you light, I am the star, shining so bright. I am the rain, refreshing the earth, I am the laughter, I am the mirth. I am the bird, up in the sky, I am the cloud, that’s drifting by. I am the thoughts, inside your head, While I’m still there, I can’t be dead. Author unknown.

There is no denying the extremely difficult task that lies ahead of you. Writing for someone you didn’t know well is hard, but writing a tributary speech for someone that you knew and simply didn’t like may seem impossible. Hopefully, the writing methods listed above will help you get through this challenge. As you are trudging though the writing of your eulogy, think about this: an unfulfilled life lead by a person that not many people liked is extremely sad. That person probably knew that they were not liked and as such most likely suffered for a long time. In a lot of instances, an unpleasant demeanor is a sign of some pretty significant inner turmoil. You are most likely writing about someone who lived their life unhappily with few, if any, friends. Think about how sad that is. This can be an opportunity for you to do some good. You have the unique chance to momentarily be the friend that the deceased never had. No matter what, no one deserves to not have someone stand up at their funeral and say a few nice words. Remember: keep it positive, speak in broad statements, keep it short, and utilize poems or religious saying if necessary. By following these writing techniques, you will be able to get through the arduous job of writing and delivering a eulogy about someone that you didn’t like. Take this moment and pay tribute to a person that probably needed to smile the most in life, but never got the chance. The words that you choose to say may be the only nice things that have or ever will be said about the departed. Choose wisely and be proud: for you might be the only one who cares.

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