I'm unable to comfort someone

So today my best friend told me her mom died. And she was crying and I didn't know how to react. I too known her mom for a long time but even still I didn't feel anything in particular,a bit of shock but that was it.
I told her I was sorry to hear that and if she needs me to do anything for her to let me know. But that was it. I feel like since we're best friends that i should be doing something more to try and comfort her but don't know how since i can't grasp at how she may be feeling.
Like don't get me wrong I've cried when one of my pets died but when my grandad passed I didn't cry. Same with my great aunt. And my other aunt.
When it comes to people I seem emotionally inept in certain areas.
Such as trying to comfort someone. I never could and I don't know how.

I don't know how i should approach her or what i should say. I guess you could say I need advice
Or guidance in the right direction as to what I should do.
What do people normally do to try and comfort someone?

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  • I think what you said was fine.

    There isn't really anything you can say to make it better when someone dies. You just need to listen and be there. It's always awkward in these situations.

    My response is usually "oh fuck. That's shit. I'm so sorry. Do you want a drink?" It's not perfect but it's gotten me this far in life.

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    • I second this, especially the drink thing. On the Big Bang Theory Sheldon was told to offer people “a hot beverage” when they were upset and it was played as a joke but I’ve found that advice to work pretty well.

      OP you don’t sound socially inept to me, when my close friends’ mother died when I first heard all I felt was shock, the sadness came later. The fact that you don’t cry much or at all when people die isn’t that unusual as people grieve in different ways. I also think it’s normal to be more upset at the death of a close animal companion than an distant relative as your imediate situation is changed more. There is no magical way to “comfort” someone and stop them grieving such a loss, and no-one expects you to be able to allievate your friend’s pain from this. You sound like a caring friend and as others have said all you can do is listen and let her know you’re there to help if she needs it.

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      • Thanks for that. I'm just conscious of how I act towards people because I've been told on numerous occasions where I lack a "response" or im aloof. And now when it matters i can't really comfort her.
        Like today I went to see her and she was crying and she looked at me and I froze. I didn't know how to react or know what to do but instead someone else came up to her and gave her a hug and whatnot. And I just felt... useless? Like I didn't even think to do that. It didn't even cross my mind. I just kinda stood there...

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        • I used to be told similar things because I’m not someone who (for lack of a better word) “jumps” on a person when they’re sad and starts babbling soothing words. Although that’s some people’s strategy if I did that it would just feel awkward and incredibly forced, mine is to hand them tissues, offer tea, hold them if they want and just let them cry really.

          I think it’s a really cruel thing to tell people (especially young people) that they are “cold” when their friends are in pain. You are doing all you can whislt probably feeling shocked and overwhelmed by this loss yourself. You care enough to make a post about how to do the right thing, I don’t call that “cold”. When people make those comments I’ve learned it’s a far greater reflection on them than their victim. Keep doing what you can.

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  • Ask questions like "are you holding up alright". There's not much you can when they're crying but to say you are sorry and look at the ground.

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  • There's not really much you can say. Just be there for her.

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