Comforting Words: What to Say in Tough Times

Bodhi Ramosreviewed byNataliia Afonina / more about Editorial Process14 min
Created: Sep 28, 2022Last updated: Nov 27, 2023
What to Say in Tough Times

We all know that life can be challenging. There are many situations when we need support from other people. And sometimes, we must find the right words of comfort for our friends, family, or others in need. According to the American Psychiatry Association, supporting someone is not a simple process that requires a lot of empathy and strength. But there are still some pieces of advice you can use depending on the situation. 

Finding good comforting words may be challenging even in your native language. And situations where you have to support your English-speaking friend may seem insurmountable. But today, we are here to help you. This article provides essential tips and expressions for supporting your loved ones in difficult life circumstances. 

Support 101: What to say to someone having a hard time?

Many reasons explain our lack of comforting words depending on the situation. We might be frustrated, confused, or just worried about a person so much that we forget all the right words. It’s okay because we are still people with our feelings and emotions. As mentioned in The Healthline, support comes in many forms. But if you always want to know what to say to comfort someone, look at this list of general tips that can be helpful in different situations.

  1. Try to figure out the reasons. If you are unsure what your friend is worried about, try to find the reasons. However, don’t be too pushy. Instead, ask your loved one gently about what upset them, and offer to fight this reason together. 
  2. Always ask about their feelings. You are almost always wrong if you think you know what your friend is going through and how they are feeling. Every person is unique and has different reactions to the same, at first glance, situations. So, instead of jumping to the wrong conclusions, it is better to ask more often how your interlocutor is feeling.
  3. Show your attention. When your friend is ready to open up and tell you about their feelings, just let them do it. Listen more than talk, and be as attentive as possible. Put away your phone, turn off the TV, and avoid any other distractions. Instead, make eye contact with the person you are talking to, nod your head, and ask clarifying questions when it’s appropriate. 
  4. Make them believe that their feelings matter. Most people are afraid to share their feelings, even with their closest friends. So, if you’ve decided to support someone, make sure to find comfort words that will encourage them to tell more. Try to use expressions like “It is normal that you feel that way” or “It’s okay to feel like that going through this situation.”
  5. If you don’t know what to say or do – ask. Not all of us are certified psychologists that can always find the best solutions or encouraging words for a friend going through a tough time. If you really want to help but have no idea what you can do, there is one simple thing – just ask the person what will be the best support for them. Is there anything I can do for you? How can I help you? Do you want me to do something special for you? These are only three of the many questions you can ask. 
  6. Send a comforting message. Of course, you can’t spend 24 hours a day comforting someone. You still have your own life, commitments, family, and other essential things to do. But if you don’t want to leave the person alone, you can always check on them by sending a message or calling them. 

Those are some general tips that can help you for starters. They can vary depending on the situation, and you have to choose only those that will be helpful specifically for your friend. For example, some people don’t like to discuss their problems and just want to distract themselves by doing something fun. Others, on the other hand, prefer long conversations and sharing their emotions. So, it is important to remember general words of comfort, but use only the ones suitable for your particular situation.

The best comforting words to uplift a sad friend

Today we are going to discuss different situations with various toughness levels. And for starters, let’s talk about that time when nothing tragically happened, but your friend is still feeling blue. After all, we all know what it’s like to mope for no reason. Here are some consoling words you can use in such circumstances: 

  • I understand you. 

Such a simple expression can be life-changing for a sad person. The main reason is that many people may be out of the mood because they are tired, and it seems that no one in this world understands them. So, when you say the opposite, they start to feel valuable and important, and their mood will improve in minutes. 

  • I am here for whatever you need. 

Sometimes people struggle to open up to someone because they don’t know if this is the right person to share their feelings with. Therefore, if you see a friend going through something and think they want to talk about it, you can encourage them using this phrase. 

  • I am happy to talk about your feelings with you. 

These are great comforting words for a friend in need. Such an expression can show a person that you care about them and that their feelings matter to you. Once again, it is a great way to encourage your friend or loved one to share what’s bothering them with you. 

  • You can trust me with anything. 

Another reason why people don’t like to share their feelings is that they fear wrong people will hear some personal information. So, it is necessary for you not only to keep all their secrets but let your friends know they can trust you with everything. 

  • I’m always here whenever you are ready. 

If your friend doesn’t want to discuss their problems, don’t pursue them. Just wait for the right time, and don’t forget to mention that you are ready to help whenever they need you. This expression is perfect for such situations. 

Words of support and comfort for someone who just lost their job

Another common situation that can make people sad is getting fired or losing a job. When it happens, most people are not ready and afraid of the uncertainty of their future. That’s when you need to find good words of comfort for a friend who just lost their job. There is what you can say:

  • I know how much this job meant to you, but there is still a silver lining. It is your chance to start over, try something new, and find plenty of other opportunities to set up your life. And you can be sure that I will be here for you whenever you need me. 

It is an example of a perfect combination of words of comfort and support. Firstly, show the person that you value their feelings and don’t consider job loss a minor event. But you’re still showing some benefits your friends can find from such a situation. And most importantly, you provide support, and your friend knows they can count on you. 

  • I know how hard it can be, but I am always here for you. We can make you a new CV together, or forget about the job for some time and distract to other fun things! Do you want to go shopping with me? 

These are other great comfort words to a friend who’s recently lost the job. Doing something together is a perfect way to shift the focus and lift the mood. This phrase can be helpful when the person is not ready to share their thoughts but still wants to spend time with you. 

Comforting sentences for a heartbroken person

Breakup is another situation when we feel terrible and need someone to be here for us. A person who recently ended the relationship is usually vulnerable and even emotionally unstable, so it is vital to find soothing words that will be supportive and not offensive. Take a look at our list of the most valuable examples:

  • It’s okay if you don’t want to do it right now. You don’t always have to pretend that everything is under control. Just let yourself feel this way for some time. And don’t forget that I’m always here to help. 

Long-term relationships make people think that they know what is waiting for them in the future. They have plans, dreams, and goals and just do everything possible to achieve them. And after a breakup, they usually don’t know what to do because all their plans include their partner. Let them know it’s okay to feel that way, and the right solution will come later. Meanwhile, they need to experience this situation with their friends and family.

  • I understand what you are going through. Remember that such situations are the experience you need to know how strong you are. You can overcome this, and I will be happy to help you. 

Once again, these are great comforting words for someone who is hurting. You don’t devalue a person’s feelings, and at the same time, show them your support. But, it is essential to find the best time to use this expression. For example, if your friend broke up with their partner an hour ago and came to your house instantly crying, save this phrase for later and hug them. 

  • I know that the healing process can take a while. Just don’t stop going; you will see how the pain is going away. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed now, but remember that you are not alone. 

It is an important message for someone going through a hard time. You show your friend that it’s fine to feel this way and highlight the importance of moving on. The main thing is not to rush them and let them experience the pain at a pace that suits them. For some, it only takes a few days; for others, it may take more than a month to recover. 


Words to comfort someone who had a bad day

Imagine this situation – you are late for work, forgot to have your morning coffee, didn’t finish a critical report in time, your boss yelled at you, and you were caught in a terrible downpour on your way home. After such a horrible day, you come home, sit on a couch, and cry. We all know these times when everything looks awful, and it seems like nothing good will ever happen again. 

We are almost sure that everyone experienced such days at least once. And nothing can better help to deal with them than a friend who knows how to support someone with words. If you want to be that person for your loved ones, take a look at some general phrases you can use to encourage them:

  • It’s okay to feel like that today. Just remember that it won’t last forever. 

It is an excellent phrase to start a conversation with someone in a bad mood. You show that their feelings are entirely normal, and they don’t have to feel guilty about things like that. And also, you remind them of the transience of destructive emotions. After saying that, you can offer to do something you both like together to distract from feeling blue. 

  • You deserve time to relax. Forget about being productive today, and allow yourself to do what you want. 

Some people are eager to be productive and accomplish hundreds of tasks during the day. But since we are people, not robots, we can’t always do it. However, some friends of ours still force themselves to do something to feel valuable even when they experience a terrible mood. These are the best things to say to someone going through a hard time in such circumstances. 

Bonus! “Comforting” words you need to avoid

Those of you who like to watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians probably know the famous phrase, “Kim, there are people that are dying.” It is a perfect example of comforting words you need to avoid. Below, you will find more phrases and actions that can make your friend even more upset.

  • You have a great life. What are you so sad about? There is no reason to feel that way. 

If you don’t want to lose all your friends, never say this to them. These are terrible consoling words no one actually wants to hear. Such expression devalues the importance of the other person’s problems and instead prohibits feeling sad. And this is not what we need to hear when we are in a bad mood, so avoid such words when supporting someone. 

  • You are being selfish. Think about your friends/family/partner – they feel bad when you are around like this. 

It is another example of how to become a bad friend and hurt someone who’s already struggling. Such a phrase can make a person feel even worse since it makes other people uncomfortable with current emotions. Forget about these words if you want to comfort someone and not offend them. 

  • I was also feeling this way and was over it in a few days, so you can do it too. 

Of course, sharing your own experiences is a good idea, even when you are trying to comfort someone. But you need to remember that it’s not about you. Your friend has another life and reacts differently to the same things. So, please, avoid using such comforting words for a friend who is sad.

  • You are just overreacting. Don’t take it too seriously. 

Once again, we are all different. Things that look harmless to you can be a tragedy for your friend. Don’t compare everyone to yourself, and don’t devalue the feelings of the person you are trying to comfort. Many other expressions can show genuine support, so remember them and avoid this terrible phrase. 

  • People are dying out there. 

Let’s turn back to this expression we mentioned in the beginning. Even though it is, sadly, a true statement, it is not the words a sad person wants to hear. By using such terms, you’re devaluing your friend’s problem and comparing it to the issues of other people in the world. It is a wrong way to support, and you have to forget about such an expression. 

How can Promova help you find the right words to console a friend?

Supporting someone is not simple. You need to control your emotions and choose the words that won’t hurt your interlocutor. If you speak your native language, you can find the best expressions and phrases suitable for a particular situation faster. But if you have to support an English-speaking friend, it is essential to be prepared for it. 

With the Promova platform, you have several options to choose from that can help you to learn how to comfort someone with words and remember basic consoling expressions and phrases you need to avoid in your conversation. First, you can seek help from professional tutors – experienced teachers will be happy to assist you in your English-learning journey and teach you everything you need for different life situations. You can choose personal lessons or join a group for more practice. 

And if you prefer to study alone, you can install a convenient Promova app on your phone or tablet. This application has hundreds of lessons divided by topics. Here you can find out what to text someone going through a hard time, the best comforting words for different circumstances, and much more. So if it is the best option for you, don’t hesitate to install the Promova app immediately!


Now, you know what are some comforting words suitable for various circumstances. Many situations in the lives of your loved ones require your support. So if you want to cheer up someone, encourage them to move on, and share your empathy – use some of the examples we’ve mentioned above. But we certainly wish you would remember these expressions as rarely as possible because there is nothing better than happiness.


What are some general things I should know about supporting someone?

Firstly, try to figure out why the person feels the way they feel. But don’t be too pushy – if they don’t want to talk, let it be. If the person is ready to share their feelings with you, pay attention to their words, listen carefully, and show your interest. If it is suitable, offer a solution, or try to find the one together. Or maybe attempt to distract your friend – again, if the circumstances allow you to do so. 

What to write to someone going through a difficult time?

It is harder to show your support to a long-distance friend since you can’t have any physical contact like a hug. But it is not impossible. First, you need to assure the person that you are always here for them. Show your interest, ask how you can help, and offer to call your friend if they also want it. 

What are some wrong comforting words?

If you don’t want to offend an upset person, try to avoid devaluing words. Don’t compare someone’s feelings to other people’s, and don’t talk about yourself. And, of course, never blame someone for their feelings – always remember that different people might react differently to the exact situations. Support requires us to be patient and strong. 

Is it essential to learn comforting words?

Even though we wish you and your friends always to be happy, life is unpredictable, and you may face some unpleasant situations in the future. And that is when you might need some comforting words to support your loved ones. Accordingly, the answer is yes, it is essential to learn comforting words to be able to help someone who needs it. 


Alfie KaurSep 27th, 2023
I'm truly touched by this article
Noah OwenJun 27th, 2023
I appreciate the thoughtful insights shared in this article about what to say in tough times. It's reassuring to have a collection of comforting words and expressions that can bring solace and strength when comforting friends, family, or loved ones.