Last Updated on January 19, 2023 by Alexander Burgemeester
How do you show how much you care about someone when you aren’t physically with them? Can a text message really replace the closeness of an in-person conversation or a warm embrace?
Research shows that texting is, by far, the top way Americans under the age of 50 communicate. 95% of people between 18-29 text, and the majority of people check their phone first thing in the morning.
In today’s increasingly digital world, it’s more important than ever to text intentionally and compassionately. How your text can define the quality of your relationships with others.
When someone is going through a rough time, sending the right text can make all the difference in having emotional support.
Let’s get into what you need to know:
How to Support Someone Over Text Message
I’m just going through a lot right now.
I’ve been really depressed lately.
There’s a lot going on in my life right now.
Have you ever received those kinds of texts from a friend or family member? If so, you may have felt unsure how to respond. You don’t want to overreact, but you also don’t want to dismiss the gravity of their emotions.
Here are some basic considerations to keep in mind when someone opens up to you over text:
#1 Continue Letting Them Know It’s Okay to Vent
Some people worry that expressing their feelings will come across as burdensome. But a true friend acknowledges and accepts feelings for what they are.
With that, remind your friend that you’re there to listen. You’re offering a virtual safe space where they can express their concerns and complain freely.
Knowing that they have your full attention will help them feel more secure in talking about their feelings.
#2 Validate Their Feelings
Ask any licensed therapist or relationship expert about how to provide support to someone, and they’ll tell you this: Validate the experience.
Focus on the words they use to describe their feelings. The idea isn’t to challenge or reframe the emotional experience. The idea is to let them know that you see what’s going on and recognize it for what it is. Validating feelings can sound like this:
- “I imagine that must be so hard. No wonder you’re feeling low.”
- “I’d be scared if I were going through that as well.”
- “It makes total sense why you feel depressed.”
- “I understand why you feel anxious.”
#3 Remind Them That You Aren’t Judging Them
People tend to withhold their emotions or lie about their well-being when they worry about how others might react.
Even if your loved one knows you won’t judge them, it can still be helpful to remind them with statements like:
- “You can tell me anything. I’m here.”
- “I promise to listen without judgment.”
- “I care so much about you and want to know what’s going on.”
- “I never judge you.”
#4 Set Boundaries As Needed
In being a good friend, don’t lose sight of your own needs. For example, if you’re going to be at work and unavailable, send a friendly heads-up like, I won’t be able to answer my phone for the next hour or so. I’ll definitely respond when I’m back.
How to Comfort Someone Through Text
If your friend reaches out to you during a difficult time, it’s most important to remember that you can’t fix the situation. You are not responsible for someone’s feelings- and it’s not your job to make everything better- but you can offer love and acknowledgment.
Here are some ways you can comfort someone over text:
#1 I Love You So Much
During difficult times, some people feel unloveable or broken. They doubt that others are really there for them. Emphasizing your love for them can provide some much-needed reassurance.
#2 I Am Here For You No Matter What
This text conveys your loyalty to the relationship. No matter how challenging things get- or how hard the hard day is- you aren’t going anywhere.
Your friend may feel more comforted knowing they. can continue reaching out, and you won’t be upset or angry with them for doing so.
#3 I Will Do My Best to Help You Feel Supported During This Time
Even if you can’t inherently make someone feel better, you can convey your desire to be kind and supportive during this hard time.
With this text, you’re making a genuine commitment to be present for them.
#4 I Don’t Know The Right Thing to Say, But I’m Truly Sorry
Maybe your friend is going through something particularly traumatic, like the death of a loved one, losing a job, or a difficult breakup. The last thing you want to do is pretend you have all the answers!
Instead, simply acknowledge that you don’t know the right words, but you do know that you’re deeply sorry for what’s going on.
#5 You Are So Important to Me
A depressed friend may feel like nobody really cares about their well-being. This text shows that they are undoubtedly special and that they play an integral part in your life.
#6 I’ve Noticed You Seem A Little Distant. What’s Up?
Maybe something about your loved one just seems off lately. They just don’t seem like themselves, and you’re worried they may be struggling more than they’re revealing.
This text shows that you’re paying attention to the relationship. Even if you guess wrong (and all is well), it shows that you have a deep regard for their mental health.
How Do You Comfort Someone Over Text When They Feel Scared?
First, as a friend, feel honored that someone is reaching out to you in such a moment of vulnerability.
That isn’t easy to do. Here are some ways you can respond to your friend’s sense of fear or anxiety:
#1 Would You Like to Talk About This Over the Phone?
You can certainly provide support over a text message, but a phone call tends to be more emotionally intimate. This question allows them to either keep texting you (which some friends will prefer to do) or call you.
#2 I’m So Sorry. I Wish I Could Be There Physically Right Now
This text conveys that you miss your loved one and wish you could actually provide more support. It’s a kind way of showing how important the relationship is to you.
#3 I Know It’s Scary, But You’re Going to Get Through It
This text shows that you believe in your loved one, and you consider them fully capable of coping with whatever stress comes their way.
#4 I Believe In You, and I Know You Can Do It!
If a friend expresses feeling low or doubtful about themselves, you can help by trying to lift them up. People often need encouragement.
Tips for Cheering Someone Up Over Text
If you want to help cheer a friend up, it’s most important to avoid dismissing or invalidating their feelings.
Distractions can be helpful, but they should be welcomed and not used as a form of avoiding real distress.
Here are some ways to help them smile during a difficult time:
#1 I’m Picking Us Up Dinner Right Now. What Do You Want?
Instead of asking how you can help provide support, start offering tangible suggestions like bringing food, running an errand, or helping out with childcare.
Keep in mind that loved ones may turn down your offer, especially if they have a difficult time asking for help. But they will likely feel grateful knowing that they’re in your thoughts.
#2 Can I Send You Something Funny?
Comedic relief can undoubtedly be healing, especially if you know your friend’s sense of humor. But it can also come across as dismissive if you use it as a distraction technique.
Whether you stumbled upon a hilarious meme or have a good story from the day, this text message gently asks permission to slightly change the subject. This empowers your friend to tell you yes or no.
#3 I Can’t Wait to See You This Weekend
Even if you can’t physically be there for them right now, reminding them of future plans can lift the mood.
You may want to follow up by saying, I’m up for whatever you want to do. And if you just want to talk, I will be fully present to listen.
#4. I Want You to Know That I’m Always Here
When we’re going through a tough time, we sometimes doubt the quality of our social support. We might forget that people actually care about our well-being and want to hear how we’re doing.
This text reminds a loved one that you’re not going anywhere, and that they can lean on you no matter what.
What to Say When Someone Is Sad Over Text
When friends or family members reach out sharing that they feel sad (or you suspect they feel hurt emotionally), it’s important to be reliable and empathic.
Sadness is a challenging emotion for everyone. The person experiencing the sadness can feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of their feeling.
Loved ones might often experience a sense of powerlessness or discouragement about their ability to help:
Here are some ways you can provide support through your text messages:
#1 I Am So Sorry
This text acknowledges that you understand the level of pain your friend feels right now. It’s short, but when it’s genuine, it can be so powerful.
#2 I Want You to Know How Much I Care About You
Depressed people often struggle with feelings of guilt, shame, and worthlessness. The bad days can feel never-ending, and they sometimes wonder if life is even worth it.
Letting your loved one know how much you care- as long as you genuinely mean it- can help them feel cared for during this vulnerable time.
#3 You Are Not Alone In This
Sadness often goes hand-in-hand with real or perceived isolation. Your loved one might feel like nobody can understand them- or that nobody really cares about their needs.
Remind them that they are loved and that you are comfortable talking about their feelings and stress.
#4 I Imagine That Must Be Really Hard
This text highlights the difficulty of your friend’s difficult time. People often downplay their stress or feel guilty about their emotions.
Well-intentioned loved ones can unknowingly add to the problem by making dismissive statements like, Well, it could be so much worse, or Think of all the things you’re grateful for, or, You’re so strong!
So, there’s something to be said about simply agreeing with and emphasizing that things are hard.
#5 I Love You, and I Want You to Get Help
If you’re genuinely concerned about a loved one’s well-being, you should convey the importance of them seeking support.
You can be a compassionate friend, but you’re not a mental health professional, and you may not really be able to provide the level of support they need right now.
What to Say When Someone is Crying Over Text
If a loved one texts you that they’re crying, you might feel unsure of what to do. After all, you can’t just lean over and give them a big hug. You can, however, text them in a way that feels like that big hug.
Here’s how to comfort someone over text if they’re crying:
#1 It’s Okay to Be Sad, and I Don’t Blame You At All
It’s powerful to remind someone that their feelings are valid and justified.
This kind of supportive statement shows that you completely understand where they’re coming from, and there’s absolutely no judgment on your end.
#2 I Am Here to Talk to You For As Long As You Need
This message reinforces that you care deeply about your loved one.
You want to be there through and through, even if that means talking for an hour- or over a few days. You’re not in any rush, and they can take as much time as they need.
#3 I Know It Hurts. Hang In There. I’m Here.
This is a compassionate text that shows that you acknowledge their pain and want them to keep pushing. It also lets them know that you’re loyal to the relationship.
#4 How Can I Be Helpful For You In This Moment?
This can be a helpful question to ask someone when you really aren’t sure how to respond. You’re putting the ball in their court, and you’re giving the other person a chance to consider what they really need.
Final Thoughts On Being a True Friend During Difficult Moments
Navigating tough times is difficult, but having a good support network can make the experience less distressing.
If you ever question what to say or do with a loved one, simply ask yourself, What would I hope a loving friend or family member would do for me in this situation?
In our increasingly digital age, communicating over text is easy, accessible, and convenient. So, even if you can’t support your friend in person, you can make a meaningful difference during their struggles.