Skip to content

This Is the Rudest Thing You Can Do at a Funeral, Experts Warn

By avoiding this one activity, you'll ensure you're showing the utmost respect.

Funerals are always an emotional experience. Sadly, we all end up attending them at one point or another, and we try to say and do the right thing when we're there. It's hard to know what to expect until you've arrived, but you'll need to prepare for mourning relatives, friends, and acquaintances—all of whom have to be handled with a certain degree of grace. That's why it's important to know the proper etiquette for attending these somber events, including what you should never do. Read on to find out the rude behavior you must avoid at a funeral.

RELATED: Never Say These 5 Words at a Funeral, Expert Warns.

If you're at a funeral, put your phone away.

A close-up of a person's hands holding an iPhone and texting

There are many circumstances where being on your phone is a faux pas, including at the dinner table and during work meetings. Considering you're there to honor someone who passed away, funerals should also be a no-phone zone. "Talking or being on your phone during the service is one of the most disrespectful things you could do at a funeral," says Myka Meier, Beaumont Etiquette founder and etiquette expert. It's important to be as present as possible.

"Silence your phone, shut off your phone, or even just leave it behind. There's nothing good you can do with it in that situation. Bring your attention to the place you are and the people you're with," Daniel Post Senning, an author and spokesperson for The Emily Post Institute, tells HuffPost.

RELATED: Never Say These 4 Words at a Wedding, Etiquette Expert Warns.

It's also a no-photo zone.

woman taking candid photo of her friend things women do with their friends

This one falls under phones, too. Sometimes it's appropriate to capture a moment, and other times it's not. It's important to distinguish between the two, especially at a funeral, which means that generally speaking, you should save the photos for another occasion. Diane Gottsman, national etiquette expert and founder of The Protocol School of Texas, tells HuffPost that the smartphone era has made it "a habit to capture the moment and post to social media." The only exception, she says, would be if you got the family's permission.

Dress for the occasion.

Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Your closet may be filled with bright hues, bold patterns, and statement attire, which is great—but for a funeral? Not so much, at least in the Western world. "You want to make sure you dress in a manner that is respectful, especially if it's held at a religious institution such as a church," says Meier. That means going with more modest dressing and muted tones. Maryanne Parker, founder of Manor of Manners and author of Posh Overnight: The 10 Pillars of Social Etiquette, tells Country Living that "you can still wear jewelry as long as you don't wear a fashion statement."

But there are exceptions when it comes to funeral fashion. If it's a celebration of life, perhaps your most joyful looks are encouraged. Different cultures also have different rules, so make sure to check with the family before attending.

RELATED: For more etiquette tips delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Above all else, be supportive.

A devastated senior man dealing with some terrible news

No matter what, the grieving party is likely just comforted by the fact that you showed up. They will appreciate your efforts to stand by their side during this trying time. But should you find a moment where you think you can make the day a little easier for them, they'll likely thank you for it later, whether that means holding a door open for their family members, talking to funeral attendees, or bringing bagel and lox over to their home if they're Jewish and sitting shiva.

RELATED: This Is the Rudest Thing You Can Ask Someone, Etiquette Experts Say.

Filed Under