How to determine if you're close enough to go to shiva house
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Post Tue, Jan 31 2023, 6:01 am
This is a huge mitzva and a huge chessed. Go in , sit down, don’t say anything until she speaks to you, get up and say “hamakom” and leave.

I one time went to be Menachem avel my neighbor. Her husband was pretty well known, (his death was mentioned here) but no one was there that morning. She talked for an hour. Till this day she is very happy to see me.
It is rare that the avel doesn’t appreciate your presence. You may feel uncomfortable, but most of us do with death. Simcha is just easier.
Give yourself 10 minutes and do it.
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Post Tue, Jan 31 2023, 6:28 am
Just go. Either you'll sit for five minutes and just say hamakom when you leave, or you'll stay for a while. If you live far away, it's much better to email or send a card than to call and interrupt her when she may have visitors.

Years ago I went to visit someone I really didn't know well because it happened (irrelevant long story) that she was sitting by herself instead with the rest of the family. No one else was there and she talked to me for over an hour about her long and complicated history with the deceased. I think she was able to unburden precisely because we weren't close. I've often thought that was the only time I truly comforted a mourner.

My only advice is to take your cue from the avelim. If they want to reminisce or tell
stories, great. If they thank you for coming and don't say anything else, then you should leave quickly.
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Post Tue, Jan 31 2023, 9:52 am
Definitely go. Staying short can never be wrong. Even those occasions its full- its a kovod that people came. Imagine everyone stayed home bc it will be packed… it would be empty…
As someone who sat shiva and didn’t always want to talk -the fact that people came was still a nechama
Now I make an effort to go. Not necessarily to stay and talk. Just to show up.

Going beyond the awkwardness is appreciated. I definitely would go more to shiva than to simchas.
Of course keep basic ettiquette -no intrusive questions or comments. But showing up is imho a good thing-
May regret the awkwardness but the good part is never a regret.
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