How To Comfort Someone: 9 Things To Text Or Say
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Last year, my cousin Samm lost her fiancé Aaron, 27, in an unthinkable work accident. A stay-at-home mom of two young boys, she suddenly found herself thrust into the world of single motherhood without her primary support system.
Aaron’s accident rattled our family to the core, and we all felt a huge responsibility to be there for Samm and her boys.
As someone who was supposed to be a bridesmaid in her upcoming wedding, I wanted more than anything to be someone she could come to when she didn’t feel like keeping it all together.
Even though we live several hours apart, Samm and I have always been able to confide in each other without judgment. We’ve both told each other things that no one else knows. But for the first time since we became close, I found myself at a complete loss for what I could do or say to comfort her.
If youve ever had to support a friend or family member through a difficult time, you know its impossible to make everything OK .
But there are things you can do and say to comfort someone going through any number of difficult situations:
- Death of person or pet
- Financial crisis
- Mental health crisis
Tiffany Lovell, a licensed behavioral therapist and mental health professional based in North Dakota, says its never easy to initiate a conversation with someone who is struggling because were afraid of saying the wrong thing.
Lower The Volume Of Texts
Sometimes, the reason why you feel so overwhelmed and stressed out about text messages is that you are getting too many throughout the day. If you are getting constant texts throughout the day, it can feel impossible to keep up with all of them.
Here are some healthy ways to reduce stress caused by texts and other notifications:
- Ask your close friends, family, and colleagues to contact you in another way
- Opt-out of text notifications for companies, sales, and other alerts
- Remove yourself from group texts you dont want to be in
- Silencing notifications for text messages
Would It Be Helpful If I Came Over
If they say yes, bring their favorite snack, find a good movie, and sit with them. It wont fix their anxiety, but it might soothe them during the worst of it, relationship therapist Sarah Hubbell, MAS-MFT, LAMFT, tells Bustle. Just be sure to honor your own boundaries.
Avoid doing anything that pushes you past your limits, like texting 24/7 or staying up super late. While it may be necessary to go above and beyond for a loved one on occasion, its possible to offer comfort and support to someone whos feeling anxious, without also burning yourself out.
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Tip : Take A Break From Your Phone
If you are constantly checking your phone for new texts, messages, or activity on social media, put it down. Checking the phone and re-reading text messages has become pretty compulsive for many singles, especially in newer relationships. As a result, singles will often put their entire life on pause as they await the response of the person of interest or try to make meaning from a single text. Instead of being present and having balance, the phone becomes a point of fixation, which just creates more anxiety.
Why Dont We Go To The Gp And Sort Out A Gp Mental Health Plan We Can Do This Together
Another, if not the most important message you can send, is suggesting professional help, Dr Blashki says. As a GP… we are pretty good at treating anxiety conditions, once someone seeks help.
This is also critical in determining what type of anxiety condition it is, which is necessary to treat it properly. Seeing your GP can also rule out any other medical conditions that may be playing a part in increasing anxiety – such as thyroid issues.
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Youre Safe Ive Got You
Have You Been Getting Enough Sleep
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This Must Be Particularly Given X
Relating the immediate circumstance to a larger picture helps to show the person youre talking to that you fully get the weight of the situation. Imagine if someone had to close down their bakery only a year after opening it. Now imagine that same person had cashed out their savings and retirement to launch the bakery, risking it all only to be left with nothing. Referencing this history, or putting their experience within this larger context, shows that you are making connections on their behalf, Fleck says. This elevates your text from a perfunctory check-in to a thoughtful exchange.
Wow That Sounds Really Stressful
Its tempting to give advice, especially when you want so badly for your friend to feel better. But unless they ask for it, resist the urge. Instead, send texts that validate their experience. Youll show empathy simply by listening, asking questions, and being curious.
Try phrases like, Yea, I can see how that experience must have been stressful, or Wow, so it sounds like you were really caught off guard when that happened, Jones says. These communicate that you see and hear their experience more than you want to fix it.
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Dr Blashki Suggests Remembering The Below Before Pressing Send
1.Offering to listen, rather than providing a solution to the anxiety is important .
2. Try not to trivialise the anxiety in the person you are messaging – because it feels very real and difficult for them.
3. Use open ended questions to encourage a dialogue and to offer your support. Even if they dont reply straight away, they know you are there, that youve opened the door and may come back to you at a later stage, he says.
4. Take into account the personality of the person you are messaging and how this may impact the message. Not everyone wants to openly discuss how they are feeling , so receiving certain text messages may be even more upsetting for them.
5. Consider the time you are sending the message will they be at work? Will they be busy with something, or will they have the time to respond?
Totally Ok If You Cant Respond But I’m Here If You Ever Wanna Talk Through Some Stuff
Since responding to texts can be totally overwhelming and sometimes even impossible for people with anxiety, go ahead and assure your friend that its fine if they dont write back right away. This text relieves the pressure of performance anxiety, Jones says, which will be a godsend for friends who tend to overthink their responses. Itll also be helpful for them to know youre waiting in the wings.
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What To Text To A Loved One With Anxiety
Because it’s so easy to say the wrong thing. Especially via messaging.
Knowing the right thing to send makes all the difference. Image: Getty Images
Shona Hendley explains the good, the bad and the ugly of texting a loved one who is suffering from anxiety – according to Dr Grant Blashki from Beyond Blue.
Anxiety sufferers will know how it feels to receive messages along the lines of itll all be okay or just think positive when they are in the crux of anxiety.
Although they usually come from a well-meaning and good intentioned place, these super unhelpful and – lets be honest – absolutely frustrating messages can make an anxious person want to scream.
As an anxious person myself, I know first-hand how powerful messages can be in those tough times. Hearing, or in 2020 when we often couldnt be with a loved one, reading the right message can make the world of difference.
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Sending the wrong thing can do more than you might realise. Image: Getty Images
So, what can you text an anxious partner, family member or friend that wont send them into a ball of rage? I asked Dr Grant Blashki, the lead clinical advisor at Beyond Blue, to explain the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to text messaging a loved one with anxiety.
You Dont Have To Fight This On Your Own
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Dont Be Silly Everybody Is Too Busy With Their Own Lives To Focus On You
A friend thought that pointing this out would relieve my irrational thoughts. Sadly not. At the time, I was worried that everyone in the room was judging me negatively. Social anxiety is an all-consuming disorder. So while deep down I knew that people werent focused on me, it still didnt stop the taunting thoughts.
How To Comfort Someone Over Text
Its always good to know how to comfort a friend or family member whos feeling anxious or upset. Thanks to cellphones, we can even lend emotional support from far away. This is why its so important to know how to comfort someone over text.
The best way to comfort someone over text is by using the RUOK Method. This involves recognizing the problem, understanding how to best help, offering a listening ear, and keeping the conversation about them. Implemented correctly, the RUOK Method can be used to comfort someone from anywhere in the world.
If you havent heard of the RUOK Method before, dont feel bad. This is actually a system that weve recently invented to help others comfort someone in need.
Read on to become an RUOK Method expert at comforting someone over text. If additional resources are required, feel free to check out our complete system for beating anxiety.
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Text Messages To Cheer Someone Up After A Breakup
Breaking up is rarely easy. You may know what its like to adapt to life after a breakup. Here’s how to comfort someone over text who is going through this experience:
- “Tomorrow will be easier. The next day will be even easier. And so on…”
- “Hey, why don’t we .”
- “Say whatever you need to say about this. No judgment.”
- “So, what are you doing to get over this?”
- “So, I heard a funny joke today…”
11. Tomorrow will be easier. The next day will be even easier. And so on
There are many ways to get over a breakup. Often, you simply need to let time run its course. Getting over a breakup tends to get easier with each passing day. Remind a friend of that .
12. Hey, why dont we .
Friends often cheer each other up after breakups by suggesting fun activities. You may not be able to hang out in person but you can probably think of remote activities your friend would enjoy, like playing an online game or participating in a hobby together, such as playing music through video chat.
13. Say whatever you need to say about this. No judgment.
People often need to vent after a breakup. Maybe your friend or loved one needs to call you and express every tiny feeling you can give them permission to do so via text.
14. So, what are you going to do to get over this?
15. So, I heard a funny joke today
Try To Focus On Whats Happening Right Now
If you sense that a wise word would be appreciated, go with a text along these lines. It could be useful if their anxiety is regarding a future event, Dr. Kimberly Martin, a clinical psychologist, tells Bustle. The same goes if theyre dwelling on the past.
Anxiety has a way of taking you out of the moment, Martin explains, but this text will remind them to take a deep breath and focus on the present.
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Want To Go To Your Fave Corner Bakery
Your friend may not be motivated to get dressed and go out when feeling stressed or overwhelmed, Romanoff says. A little push may be necessary, especially when its specific and no planning on their part is necessary.
A text like this one can also serve as a reminder that theyre still able to have fun, even if their anxiety might be saying otherwise. The process of getting dressed for an occasion can build anticipation and excitement, she explains. Its not just about the . Its about how those plans impact your mindset and have the potential to further reinforce similar behaviors.
Let Your Inner Circle Know About Your Texting Anxiety
A simple way to overcome texting anxiety is to acknowledge it first. Then, prepare yourself to voice your emotions. No, Im not saying that you start telling all and sundry that you struggle with texting anxiety. But at least, let the people you tend to text most frequently your partner, your BFF, your gang of co-workers, siblings know how not receiving a response or continuous back-and-forth of text messages makes you feel.
They will most certainly empathize with you and make an effort to be swift with their responses. If your partner doesnt know that not hearing back from them for even a couple of hours makes you nervous, how will they do their bit to help make it easier on you? So, if you often wonder how to stop worrying about a text back, being vocal about your needs is a good place to start.
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Messages To Help Cheer Someone Up Over Text
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What do you want to do for your friends or family members when theyre experiencing tough times? Go to their rescue, right?
You may not have the option to do so in person or even by phone. Maybe youre 12 hours behind your friend who lives in Russia or you cant possibly sneak a call to a loved one into your busy schedule.
Jump ahead to these sections:
Why not cheer someone up via text? The following examples show the simple but effective messages you can send to someone going through a difficult experience.
Tip: If someone you know recently lost a loved one, our post-loss checklist can help them sort through the complicated tasks and challenges they might be facing.
Do You Need Help With Anything Maybe Groceries Or Cleaning
Of course, it never hurts to come through with a specific offer, especially if your friends anxiety has them feeling stuck or glazed over.
Let’s say you know they have trouble cleaning when they’re anxious, Jones says. You could say something like, Hey can I come over to help you clean a little bit this weekend? We can listen to some stuff in the background and chat while we do it.
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Common Questions About Stress And Anxiety About Texting
Why do text messages give me so much anxiety?
Your anxiety around texting is probably related to feeling the need to read, reply or send text messages as soon as possible. Unless a text is urgent, giving yourself permission to delay your response can take some of the pressure off.
Why am I so stressed by texting people?
If texting people stresses you out, it might be because you are overthinking your texts or placing too much importance on how you respond. Most texts arent urgent and dont require perfectly worded responses.
Why am I more stressed about texting friends or people Im dating?
If you get stressed when texting friends or people you are dating, its probably because these relationships are more personal. In personal relationships, the stakes for rejection feel higher, so it can mean you worry more about responding in the right way.
How do I stop being so anxious about texting?
Give yourself permission to not read, respond, and send texts right away if they arent urgent. Also, dont overthink your responses, and make use of auto-reply, like and emoji features to give short, simple replies.
Consider online therapy