Table of Contents
- How to Comfort Someone: 76 Ways to Show You Care
- #1 Text a photo of a fun memory
- #2 Start a project together
- #3 Acknowledge their feelings
- #4 Bring them a surprise dessert
- #5 Ask 36 Deep Questions
- #6 Pick up the phone
- #7 Send a thoughtful text
- #8 Show gratitude with a handwritten letter
- #9 Improve your listening skills
- #10 Repeat their feelings
- #11 Don’t minimize their pain
- #12 Remind them that you are a part of their support system
- #13 Surprise them with a nice dinner
- #14 Cook a meal together
- #15 Take them to a pet store or petting zoo
- #16 Have a movie night
- #17 Offer physical affection (but don’t be offended if they decline)
- #18 Set up an afternoon picnic
- #19 Comfort them using their love language
- #20 Invite them to a yoga or exercise class
- #21 Practice gratitude together
- #22 Remind them of a joyful or funny memory you shared
- #23 Go to a natural area
- #24 Offer time every week to do what they like to do
- #25 Plan a spa or self-care day
- #26 Volunteer together
- #27 Send them a funny animal meme
- #28 Meditate together
- #29 Take a technology detox
- #30 Bring them flowers
- #31 Go dancing
- #32 Send a motivational text
- #33 Buy them a personal gift card
- #34 Share an inspirational quote
- #35 Do a random act of kindness
- #36 Make a playlist of their favorite songs
- #37 Play a pickup game
- #38 Smash some plates
- #39 Visualize a better future
- #40 Create bucket lists
- #41 Go swimming (or cold plunging!)
- #42 Go to the dog park and pet some puppies
- #43 Give them a goofy nickname
- #44 Paint, make art, or get creative together
- #45 Take them to an amusement park
- #46 Tell each other jokes
- #47 Create a safe space
- #48 Buy them an inspirational book and create a book club
- #49 Have a game night
- #50 Go shopping together
- #51 Ask them some fun questions
- #52 Plan a road trip
- #53 Role play in public
- #54 Tell each other jokes
- #55 Check in regularly for ongoing support
- #56 Know when to seek extra help
- 20 Other Ideas for Comforting a Friend
- Key Takeaways: How to Show You Care When Your Friends are Feeling Low
Showing support for your friends during hard times is one of the most important things you can do. After all, vulnerability and consistency are the hallmarks of a good friend. But when someone you love is going through a hard time, it can be challenging to know exactly what to say (or do) or if you should say anything.
Thankfully, emotionally supporting your friends isn’t rocket science. Recent studies have found that being present to talk with friends can help regulate their emotions as they navigate life’s inevitable valleys. These actionable and psychology-backed tips can help you provide the most comfort possible while avoiding common pitfalls.
How to Comfort Someone: 76 Ways to Show You Care
The truth is, talking to someone who is sad or grieving can feel awkward. The quality of your friendships affects your health, longevity, happiness, and even your self-esteem. With the worsening epidemic of loneliness in America, it’s vital that you show up for your friends when they need you most.
If you are wondering how to comfort someone after a breakup, loss of a loved one, or another emotionally-challenging time, here are 75 practical ways to support them:
#1 Text a photo of a fun memory
Humans tend to dwell on negative emotions biologically. When someone is upset or stressed about something in their life, a joyful distraction can help remind them that “this too shall pass.”
Send your loved one a photo of a great memory and caption it with a humorous inside joke or a brief positive comment like “I can’t wait for more good times with you.”
- Pro-Tip: Send them a photo of the first time you met, the last wonderful memory you had. Eating at the restaurant you first met? Snap a shot of your meal and ask them how they are!
#2 Start a project together
Sometimes the best way to help someone is to get their mind on bigger and more exciting things and projects. Have you always discussed building a backyard art studio or side hustle business with your friend? Or perhaps something smaller like painting their room or installing a garden. Start an interesting project together to help them feel productive and connected to something bigger than themselves. More ideas for you:
- Decide to watch every movie nominated for an Oscar this year.
- Read one book a month together.
- Start a window garden.
- Learn to make sushi or sourdough bread.
#3 Acknowledge their feelings
Nobody wants to feel like their emotions are irrational or dismissed. When people seek comfort from others, they are often seeking emotional validation. This makes them feel like you accept them and hear what they’re going through.
It’s essential to show emotional support without trying to give advice or diminishing their experience. Invalidating responses sends the message that “your feelings don’t matter” or “I don’t care.” Instead, affirm you genuinely hear them by responding with emotionally-validating statements:
|Avoid Emotional Invalidation||Acknowledge Their Feelings|
|“What’s the big deal?”||“I care about you. What can I do to help?”|
|“You’re overreacting. It will be fine.”||“That sounds very frustrating/painful.”|
|“I know exactly how you feel and when I felt that way…” (shifting the conversation to you)||“I hear you. I’m here for you.”|
|“I bet it wasn’t that bad.”||“That must have been hard,”|
|“I don’t see the problem.”||“I know that you’re hurting.”|
|“It could be worse” or “everything happens for a reason.”||“I understand that this is a difficult time for you.”|
|Rolling your eyes, ignoring them, playing with your phone while they’re talking, or facing the other way as if you don’t care about the conversation||Nonverbal CARE cues like attentive listening, eye contact, nodding, asking questions, and leaning inward.|
#4 Bring them a surprise dessert
There’s a reason grandmas share cookies fresh out of the oven when children are feeling down. Whether you bake homemade cookies or pick up a slice of cheesecake on your way to their house, comforting someone with food is one of the oldest tricks in the books.
Bonus points if you know their favorite sweet treat! This added layer of thoughtfulness shows that you’ve been paying attention to the things they genuinely love.
#5 Ask 36 Deep Questions
Did you know that we can create connections by asking better questions? Researcher Arthur Aron developed 36 questions to ask your significant other and help people break through each intimacy level. These are great to do with a friend who needs some intimacy and support. Try these in person, over text, or even doing one a night for the next 36 nights!
Read more at: https://www.scienceofpeople.com/deep-questions/
#6 Pick up the phone
In this age of texting and social media, giving someone a phone call can be like taking the extra mile to show you care. Psychologists have found that voice communication creates stronger bonds than text or email communication.
One study asked 103 participants to reconnect with an old friend via email or phone. Another 302 participants tried chatting with a stranger over text, video, or vocal communication. Researchers found that both groups felt significantly more connected to people they spoke to over the phone or via video chat, even if they were strangers!
Moral of the story? Text messaging on its own doesn’t cut it for upholding deep connections—especially with someone who is going through a hard time.
Whether you leave a voicemail or your friend answers the phone. You can use a vocal interaction to more genuinely express your condolences and let them know you’re thinking of them. Start with a short, comforting introduction like:
- “Hey, I was just thinking about you and wanted to let you know that I care much. Call me if you need anything”.
- “Hey, I hope you’re doing well. I know this time isn’t easy for you, but I wanted to remind you that I’m always here to help or listen. I admire you so much and feel so inspired by your resilience. Call me if you want to talk or meet up soon!”
- “Hello, this is your daily reminder that you are an incredible person, and I am so lucky to have you in my life.” (Try a playful, telemarketer tone for a fun twist)
#7 Send a thoughtful text
While phone calls, video chats, and in-person meetups allow for deeper connections, sometimes people don’t want to talk. That’s OK! If you know that your friend tends to withdraw socially when going through a tough time, a simple text message can be the next best way to reach out.
A thoughtful text message should be personal, complimentary, and open-ended.
- “Hey friend, I just thought of you and wanted to let you know what an incredible human you are. You are so valued and important. There is no doubt in my mind that you’ll get through this.”
- “Hey, I just wanted to check in on you and let you know I’m here for you if you need anything.”
- “You are a super special person in my life. Thank you for being there for me, and know that I’ll always do the same for you!”
Remember not to get your feelings hurt if they don’t respond. It’s probably nothing personal. Sometimes people just need some space to process their emotions. At the very least, your name popped up on their phone with a caring or encouraging message to help brighten their day.
#8 Show gratitude with a handwritten letter
In our fast-paced society, few people take the time to write with pen and paper. You can make your friend or family member feel extra special by writing them an old-fashioned letter accentuating why you are grateful to have them in your life. Use these prompts to spark a few ideas:
- How do they inspire you?
- Have they helped you through a hard time?
- Why wouldn’t your life be the same without them?
- What is one of your favorite memories with them?
- What character traits make them different from everyone else?
Don’t forget to sign and date the letter. To go the extra mile, throw in an old photo and seal it with a postal stamp.
#9 Improve your listening skills
Be a more active listener with the CARE rule:
- Compassion: If someone feels safe opening up to you, you must take the situation seriously and show empathy for their experience. Even if it seems marginal to you, it could be a big deal to them. Practice compassion by carefully listening in silence and ensuring you aren’t expressing judgment with your thoughts or expressions.
- Attention: Make your loved ones feel meaningful by giving them your undivided attention. Focus on what they are communicating by putting your phone away and minimizing distractions around you.
- Respond nonverbally: Nonverbal cues like nodding or leaning forward are easy ways to show support as someone discusses their problems with you.
- Eye contact: We’ve all heard, “the eyes are the windows to the soul.” Maintaining eye contact can deepen your connection and show your friend that you want to understand what they’re saying.
#10 Repeat their feelings
Empathy is the ability to understand and relate to someone else’s emotions. It is a crucial social skill that allows you to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes” and let them know they aren’t alone in this difficult time.
You can express empathy by repeating someone’s feelings to them, so they feel heard and understood. For example, suppose someone says they feel anxious about a looming medical diagnosis. In that case, you might respond, “I hear that this is giving you a lot of anxiety, and that’s understandable for anyone in your situation.”
Do not shift the conversation back to you or compare your experience to theirs. Instead, show that you listened to how they feel and can relate to what they’re going through (even if you’ve never experienced that particular challenge).
Action Step: Learn The 15 Habits of Highly Empathetic People and find ways to incorporate more empathy into your relationships. Some of the most important include:
- Be curious about other people and ask questions to understand them better.
- Pay attention to what your friends say through active listening.
- Highlight similarities between you and other people.
- Try to understand someone else’s life by imagining yourself in their shoes.
#11 Don’t minimize their pain
While a positive outlook can help deal with some of life’s problems, it can also be counterproductive to someone suffering. Toxic positivity can hide in seemingly innocent phrases like “just cheer up!” or “don’t worry, it’ll be fine!”
These comments may make your friend feel like their pain is invalid or exaggerated. In turn, this could compound their feelings of isolation or grief. Instead, try some of these alternative responses recommended by Vanessa Van Edwards:
#12 Remind them that you are a part of their support system
Sometimes we forget to ask for help. We forget how much our friends care about us. Life would be much harder without the support systems of friends and family. As social beings, people inherently want to feel a sense of belonging. Showing your support emphasizes that your friend doesn’t have to go through hard times alone.
Use statements like:
- “I’m here for you no matter what.”
- “How can I help in this situation?”
- “I completely support your decision.”
- “I’ve got your back.”
#13 Surprise them with a nice dinner
Everyone loves food, but people struggling with mental health often don’t have the energy to cook nourishing meals. You can surprise your friend with their favorite take-out or a homemade dinner to show that you care about their health and well-being. Try making them this comforting Thai curry or a delicious slow-cooked Mexican chicken dish.
#14 Cook a meal together
Speaking of food, cooking with a needy friend improves their overall well-being and sense of community. Buy some ingredients and coordinate a meal prep activity together.
For a fun twist, take them to a cooking class via Airbnb Experiences or local classifieds like Yelp to find cooking classes nearby. If you want to stay in, invite friends and use a site like CozyMeal for a virtual class on international cuisine.
Or buy groceries and show up at their place to cook something fun. No need to get fancy… there is nothing as good as pancakes for dinner!
#15 Take them to a pet store or petting zoo
Animals have a way of soothing us when we’re down. You can head to a local pet store to hold kittens and hamsters up for adoption or check out an ethical petting zoo with goats, donkeys, and other animals eager to be petted.
#16 Have a movie night
Getting absorbed in other people’s lives’ drama, romance, or comedy can be a nice break from the chaos in someone’s life. Whether you choose to “Netflix and chill” or go out to a theater, a movie and popcorn are a comforting distraction.
#17 Offer physical affection (but don’t be offended if they decline)
Sometimes, people just need a hug or a shoulder to cry on. Physical touch is scientifically proven to improve oxytocin levels and lower blood pressure for people under stress.
However, remember that some people don’t like to be touched. The level of physical touch you offer should be proportionate to the depth of your relationship.
If your significant other is in tears, holding them tight or offering to snuggle could feel right. But if this person is a more casual friend, you may just offer a hand on their shoulder to show you care.
Pro Tip: When it comes to comforting someone with physical affection, body language tends to speak louder than words. Someone may not say, “don’t touch me” or “I don’t want a hug.” Instead, they may subtly move away from you to indicate that they’d rather not be touched at that moment. You must respect this boundary and understand it isn’t about you. After all, you don’t know about their past personal experiences with touch and affection.
#18 Set up an afternoon picnic
Going outdoors and enjoying a meal together may seem old-fashioned or even corny, but it’s a great way to be present with someone having a rough time. Grab a blanket, a picnic basket, and some snacks or a to-go from their favorite restaurant. Then, head to a local park or beautiful area to eat outside.
#19 Comfort them using their love language
Dr. Gary Chapman’s famous book The 5 Love Languages explained the different ways people give and receive love. But the concept doesn’t only apply to romantic love; you can also use someone’s love language to comfort a friend, show support for a family member, or demonstrate appreciation to someone in your life.
These “languages” of love include:
- Physical touch: Cuddling, hugging, and caring touch (like a pat on the back) are ways to show physical affection.
- Acts of service: This is when someone asks their loved ones for favors or likes to do things for them. Cooking, running errands, or helping them perform daily actions may make them feel extra loved.
- Gifts: This language means someone likes to express and receive love through thoughtful gifts. You’d think they like dessert, flowers, a meal, or a random trinket.
- Quality time: Uninterrupted time together— like a shared meal or a fun outing— can make this type of person feel valued by those they care about.
- Words of affirmation: People who love words of affirmation enjoy regular verbal reminders from their loved ones. They may especially enjoy text messages, phone calls, letters, or other vocal expressions of how much they mean to you.
Someone’s dominant love language explains the main thing(s) that make them feel cared for or how they demonstrate their care to others. Of course, many people would like to receive affection in every way—these are just guides for what might make someone feel extra cared for.
Action Step: Take our love language quiz to find your preferred method of giving or receiving care and invite your friend to do the same. If you feel weird about sending them the quiz, reflect on the main languages and try to determine which one they’ll enjoy the most. Do they regularly give you little tokens of appreciation (gifts) or offer to help you with school projects (acts of service)? Choose the comfort ideas on this list based on how well you know this person.
#20 Invite them to a yoga or exercise class
Yoga has been used for thousands of years to help strengthen the body and calm the mind. Many modern yoga classes are particularly focused on mental health and wellness. If you want to try a simple home flow, here are the easiest hatha yoga poses for beginners, including postures for relieving stress and anxiety. You can also bring them to a local yoga studio or try out a sequence on YouTube.
#21 Practice gratitude together
An attitude of gratitude is one of the best ways to get perspective on a challenging situation. Invite your friend to list things you’re thankful for or just talk out loud about gratitude in each of your lives.
“Being grateful all the time isn’t easy. But it’s when you least feel thankful that you are most in need of what gratitude can give you: perspective. Gratitude can transform any situation. It alters your vibration, moving you from negative energy to positive.”—Oprah
Be sure you don’t accidentally minimize someone’s suffering by recommending a gratitude exercise. Instead, lead the way by listing things you’re grateful for, including your friends, family members, or the gift of another day above ground.
#22 Remind them of a joyful or funny memory you shared
Personalized memories can help someone remember that the current circumstances are only temporary. There is always more light up ahead. Bring up a fun memory or time you shared and retell the story from your point of view. Focus only on positive times that won’t be triggering or overly emotional.
#23 Go to a natural area
Nature has an abundance of healing properties. You can head to a park, trailhead, beach, lake, or backyard to get some fresh air and listen to bird songs. Bring a blanket or hammock to hang out on and watch the clouds pass.
#24 Offer time every week to do what they like to do
After a major upheaval of their routine, a consistent schedule of support can be really helpful for rebuilding structure in your loved one’s life. Ask them what their favorite weekly activity is and set up a day and time for meeting up every week. This is an easy way to show that you’re there over the long haul and not just for short “condolences” wishes.
#25 Plan a spa or self-care day
Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive. For women, you can make homemade facial masks or give each other pedicures. For guys, you can head for an affordable sports massage or hit the gym together.
#26 Volunteer together
Volunteering is a perfect opportunity to help somebody get out of their comfort zone and get some perspective on their situation. After all, helping others is naturally rewarding for our brains. It triggers the release of oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin while reducing cortisol (the stress hormone). Schedule a volunteer day at a local animal shelter, nature preserve, food pantry, or other non-profit organization, and invite your friend for a charitable mood boost.
#27 Send them a funny animal meme
Memes have been called the “new language of millennials.” Regardless of your age group, these quirky image-and-text combos can make someone LOL when they’re feeling down. Search for relevant, funny memes online, screenshot them, and then randomly text your friend.
#28 Meditate together
If someone you love is feeling exceptionally low, you can offer to do a meditation together to share your comforting vibes through brain waves. Seriously! Neurologists have found that peoples’ brain waves can sync together during meditation. In addition to all the science-backed benefits of meditation, it can help them feel more relaxed and connected to you as friends.
Try this guided meditation for getting through difficult times:
#29 Take a technology detox
Social media and the internet can take a toll on someone going through a hard time. Scrolling through the endless highlight reels of other people’s lives can only make them feel worse about themselves.
Consider offering a tech detox together by deleting your social media apps (don’t worry, you can log back into your accounts when you reinstall the app). Doing this together will add a layer of accountability and positive energy to the challenge. Then, come up with ideas for how you want to replace your scroll time.
#30 Bring them flowers
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Flowers aren’t just for first dates and corny romance movies. They are also a lovely way to brighten someone’s office or home, symbolizing care and beauty.
#31 Go dancing
Letting loose and listening to your favorite music is like medicine for the soul. Whether you head to a club, salsa dancing class, or have a dance party in your living room, you can relieve extra tension together while laughing at your goofy moods.
#32 Send a motivational text
A quick inspirational text could be that extra “oomph” to help someone get going on a particularly rough morning. Shoot your friend a motivational text or quote such as:
- “I believe in you!”
- “You’re one of the strongest people I know.”
- “You inspire me every day. Keep being you,”
- “The world needs your light,”
- “You are a force in this world.”
#33 Buy them a personal gift card
Even if it’s just $5 or $10 to a local coffee shop, a gift card shows that you were thinking of someone during a time when they need extra support. Be sure to pick something you’ll know they will enjoy. Perhaps it will inspire them to leave the house and savor the little things in life again.
#34 Share an inspirational quote
Motivational quotes are like beacons of positivity from the wisest and most successful minds in history. They remind us that even the most famous people still have major obstacles to getting to where they are. Send your friend one of these quotes about persistence to help them get through the day:
- “It is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength of the brilliant light within ourselves that can never, ever, be dimmed.” —Doe Zantamata
- “Most great people have attained their greatest success one step beyond their greatest failure.” —Napoleon Hill
- “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” —Henry Ford
- “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” —Michael Jordan
- “There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to avoid them. But they are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there.” —Paulo Coelho
#35 Do a random act of kindness
You don’t always need a grand gesture to demonstrate your love. People who are depressed or grieving may have trouble performing simple daily tasks. You can offer a random act of kindness like picking up their groceries or taking their dog for a walk to show you care subtly.
#36 Make a playlist of their favorite songs
Music is a universal coping mechanism to help people get through even the toughest times. If you know this person well, you’re probably in tune with their favorite songs from the past. Make them a thoughtful playlist and share via Spotify or Apple Music. Alternatively, you could burn an old-fashioned throwback CD to brighten their car ride.
#37 Play a pickup game
Take your friend to a local basketball court, soccer field, tennis court, or frisbee golf course to get your sweat on and release some stress.
#38 Smash some plates
Speaking of releasing anger—nothing quite matches the feeling of smashing a plate to let out built-up emotions. During the 2020 pandemic, people on social media and even on school campuses took to breaking cheap plates for a stress release.
There is even a thing called “plate smashing therapy.” The idea supposedly came from a Greek custom that celebrates shattered plates as a sign of new beginnings, moving through mourning, or warding off negative energies.
Buy some cheap plates at the thrift store and invite your friend to join you in writing things on the plate that they need to get rid of. For example, a negative memory, something they feel frustrated by, or the name of an ex they want to get over.
Then, smash the plates to symbolize the release from that emotion. You can make a cardboard-lined container to keep the fragments from going everywhere. Just keep it fun and clean up the mess without hurting yourself. You can also look up a local “Smash Room” where you can do this in a controlled environment.
#39 Visualize a better future
Psychologists have found that thinking about the future can give life more meaning and help people move through tough times. This process—called prospection—gives us something to look forward to beyond the present circumstances. Invite your loved ones to sit down and talk about future vacation ideas, make vision boards together, or discuss an exciting goal they’d like to reach.
#40 Create bucket lists
The idea of a bucket list first became popularized in the 2007 film The Bucket List. The idea is to list everything you want to do before you “kick the bucket” (die). While thinking about the fact that you’re going to die may seem kind of depressing, research has shown that it can be beneficial for mental health. In one shocking study, psychologists found that regularly thinking about one’s mortality can lead to greater happiness in life because you are more likely to enjoy the time you have.
You probably don’t want to dwell on the idea of death with your hurting friend, but it may be fun to create bucket lists together and maybe even cross off a few things to cheer them up.
#41 Go swimming (or cold plunging!)
There’s nothing quite like diving into the salty ocean and letting your troubles wash away with the waves. Swimming together can quickly bond and show someone you care about their mental health. Diving into cold water in particular can quickly change a person’s physiology, reduce feelings of depression, and shift their perspective. It essentially blasts the body and mind into the present moment.
If you don’t live by a natural body of water, invite your friend to head to a local pool or even cryotherapy (cold plunge) spa.
#42 Go to the dog park and pet some puppies
Dogs have this funny way of curing the blues. They intuitively pick up when people are feeling down. Their sweet wet noses and innocent wagging tails are hard to resist.
If you or your friend don’t have a dog, consider heading to the dog park to play with other people’s dogs. Just don’t forget to ask if you can pet them first!
#43 Give them a goofy nickname
An endearing pet name can be a lifelong inside joke. You can use a cultural reference like a movie character (for example, Logan the Wolverine or Chewbacca), or you can adapt something you know they like into a nickname (for example, if they love kiwi fruit, you could start calling them Kiwi). You can also just go for a corny classic like “Bestie,” “Homie,” or “Captain Obvious.” Just make sure the pet name isn’t offensive.
#44 Paint, make art, or get creative together
Creative expression is one of the best ways to build a social connection between people. Some research suggests that bonding through creativity is evolutionarily wired into our DNA. Painting, drawing, or making random crafts can be incredibly soothing and relaxing.
Read about How to Unleash Your Inner Creative Genius and bring your loved one along for the ride.
#45 Take them to an amusement park
Rollercoasters and cotton candy have a unique way of bringing out someone’s inner child. If your friend is going through a particularly rough or serious time, you might be able to bring some smiles to their face by inviting them for an amusement park day.
#46 Tell each other jokes
Laughter is an easy way to break the ice with someone who isn’t feeling their best. Let loose by telling each other some corny jokes like:
- What do you call a pig that does karate? A pork chop.
- Why was the pediatrician constantly losing his temper? Because he had little patients.
- Why did the golfer bring two pairs of pants? In case he got a hole in one.
- Why was the little strawberry crying? His mom was in a jam.
- Why shouldn’t you write with a broken pen? Because it’s pointless.
- What do you call a nosy pepper? Jalapeño business
Here are more tips on How to Be Funny: 7 Easy Steps to Improve Humor.
#47 Create a safe space
Emotional safety is the feeling of being able to open up without feeling judged or ridiculed. Create a safe space for your loved one to open up to you by:
- Keeping it confidential: Many people are afraid to open up because of someone they previously trusted. Never disclose their personal information or confessions to anyone else. That could be the ultimate betrayal of someone who thought they could trust you.
- Don’t give unsolicited advice: Often, people just need an open ear to vent. They want to feel valued and heard, not like you’re preaching the solutions to all their problems. If they don’t ask for advice, there is no need to give it.
- Build trust over time: Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship. You can’t expect someone to feel safe around you if you haven’t earned their trust ahead of time. Learn How to Build Trust with Anyone to Improve Your Relationships.
#48 Buy them an inspirational book and create a book club
Reading is easy to learn something new and get a new viewpoint on life. See if your friend has any books they’ve been dying to read, and make a mini book club as you read along. You can talk about your favorite book parts and what you’ve learned each week. Here are 20 Meaningful and Life Changing Books You Should Read in Your 20s
#49 Have a game night
Game nights are an opportunity for laid-back bonding and lighthearted competition. Whether your friend is a natural comedian or a trivia buff, here are the 30 Best Games to Play With Any Kind of Friend to help cheer them up.
Pro Tip: People grieving or facing a significant life challenge may not feel like socializing in a group. It’s important to consider whether this person is an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert so you can plan a game night accordingly. Some people may feel overwhelmed or anxious if they are invited to a game night party when they hope to be comforted by just one or two close friends.
#50 Go shopping together
A little retail therapy can be a quick fix for the blues. Maybe you want to help your friend try on some new clothes at the mall or put together a fun thrift store outfit. You can also head to an outdoor sporting goods store and pick up some new sports gear. Or try playing around with new computers and video games at a technology store. They’ll probably appreciate getting out and about, even if you don’t spend any money.
#51 Ask them some fun questions
People enjoy talking about themselves. If you want to help your friend get their mind off their troubles while having some intriguing conversations, try asking them one of these 257 Juicy Questions to Ask Your Friends:
- If your wardrobe could only be one color, what would it be?
- What was the first concert you ever went to?
- What is the best book you’ve ever read?
- What’s your favorite movie of all time?
- What’s the stupidest movie or TV show you’ve ever seen?
#52 Plan a road trip
Getting away from the same old routine can be incredibly healing and relieving. The whole process of planning, packing, and taking off on a road trip can build up excitement and optimism about the future. Consider an iconic trip to a nearby National Park, a beautiful beach, a secluded cabin, or a tour of historical cities in your area. Don’t forget the snacks and road trip conversation games.
#53 Role play in public
It can be refreshing to think of being somebody else for a while. For an interesting adventure, head to the mall or a restaurant and role-play as if you are entirely different people. Come up with unique names and engaging personas. Make up an entire story of how your characters met each other. Don’t forget to dress the part!
#54 Tell each other jokes
- A lawyer told a judge, “My client is trapped inside a penny.” The judge said, “What?” The lawyer said, “He’s in a cent.”
- What did the fried rice say to the shrimp? Don’t wok away from me!
- Boss told me that as a security guard, it’s my job to watch the office. I’m on season 6, but I’m not sure what it’s got to do with security.
- The CEO of Ikea was appointed Prime Minister of Sweden. He’s currently assembling his cabinet.
#55 Check in regularly for ongoing support
Nobody’s problems magically disappear after one fun day with a loved one. It’s important to regularly check in via text, phone call, or arranged dates. For most people, this could mean contacting them once every couple of days. Try saying something like:
“Hey, just checking in on you. I had a great time with you the other day and can’t wait to plan something else. Let me know if you need anything.”
#56 Know when to seek extra help
Everyone heals at their own pace, but if it seems like your loved one has had a prolonged period of sadness, isolation, or depressive symptoms, it may be time to seek professional help. Don’t be afraid to seek assistance from a trusted family member, professional, counselor, or another mental illness expert.
For a good resource for therapists, you can check out Mental Health America’s helpful list.
20 Other Ideas for Comforting a Friend
Looking for more ideas to lift your friend’s spirit? Here are 20 more ideas to show your support.
#57 Make friendship bracelets
#58 Help them clean their house
#59 Take them to a pottery class
#60 List the awesome things about them
#61 If they are distant, remind yourself that it isn’t about you
#62 Get dressed up
#63 Plan a sleepover
#64 Have a smiling contest
#65 Run errands together
#66 Practice positive affirmations
#67 Go on a guided city tour
#68 Make a healthy breakfast
#69 Walk barefoot in nature
#70 Play some sports
#71 Do a puzzle together
#72 Plant a garden
#73 Go to the botanical gardens
#74 Go to an art museum
#75 Hide kind notes in their purse or car
#76 Text your friend to remind them that they aren’t alone
Key Takeaways: How to Show You Care When Your Friends are Feeling Low
When someone you love has the blues, an awkward pat on the back or an empty platitude like “things will get better” just doesn’t cut it. If you want to be there for support and comfort during your friend’s hard times, remember to:
- Listen with CARE: The most important thing for someone suffering is to feel like someone around them cares enough to listen and validate their feelings without judgment. Remember the acronym CARE— Compassion, Attention, Respond nonverbally, and Eye Contact when listening to someone share what they’re struggling with.
- Cheer them up with surprises: Gifts, flowers, surprise meals, or sweet treats are easy ways to show your support and cheer someone up.
- Get them out of the house: We all know how hard it can be to leave your home when you’ve got the blues. You can invite a hurting loved one out on fun adventures like a theme park, nature walk, or spa day. This shows you’re
- Don’t push them: Ultimately, healing takes time, and everyone has their process for dealing with life’s challenges. When your friend doesn’t seem to respond to your offers, remember not to take it personally and give them the time they need.
If you can love someone through their bad times, they’re sure to show up for you during yours. Here are 10 more Action Steps to Become a Good Friend.