Affiliate links may be used in this post and if so I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you when purchasing from my site. I’m also part of the Amazon Affiliate (Associate) program where I earn a commission from sales made through my affiliate links. Find my full disclosure policy.
Are you looking for encouraging words for a friend going through a tough time?
It’s not always easy to know what to say to a friend going through a hard time and getting ideas of how to support can make all the difference in the world. Sometimes our hearts feel so much compassion for them but we fumble our words, or we feel worried that we may say or do the wrong thing.
As someone who has lived with chronic illness 14 years, and has had family members with cancer, and other illnesses, I have first hand experience with needing the love and care of friends. I’ve experienced great supportive words and not so great, so it’s my hope to write this article for the well-meaning friend who may just not know what to say to support their loved one.
If you’re reading this then you’re the kind of friend that your friend needs. Someone interested, someone feeling compassion for their loved one. You’re who they need and I encourage you to continue walking with them on their hard journey.
Encouraging Words for a Friend
Ideas of what to say when supporting a loved one or friend who needs you.
It’s not always easy finding the right words to say to someone walking a tough journey. Truthfully speaking, sometimes you don’t even need the right words, you just need to let your friend know you’re there and aren’t going anywhere.
Letting your friend know you have their back and are there to walk beside them through it is really all they need. However, I know some of us want to know what else to say, or do, in order to support someone through the long-haul.
When a friend is walking a long and painful journey it requires more showing up in their lives than a simple sentence of support here and there and that can become a bit trickier in how to support them. And that’s where this article comes in handy as suggestions for what to say and how to help.
Continue reading to the end to find a FREE inspiring coloring book you can download and print for your friend. Include a personalized note with some of the ideas in this article for that extra special touch.
Ideas for showing up for your friend
Tangible ways to show up for a hurting friend.
- Stop by with a meal and a hug
- Send a heartfelt card – throw in an encouraging sticker for a sweet touch
- Call them up and ask how their pain level is today and just listen
- Offer to watch their kids for a night – but be specific with the night and time so it’s not up to them to make it happen.
- Show up in the morning with coffee and a listening ear
- Send a quick text “Thinking about you today and admiring your strength”
- Ask what day would be best to pick them up to take them shopping
- Buy them a meaningful and helpful gift for their health situation
- Show up with groceries
- Have a meal delivered to their home
I encourage you to keep up these suggestions, and any others you think of, through the long-haul. Most people with long-lasting illnesses need this type of support for years to come. It is a lot of dedication to support a chronically, or seriously ill friend. You don’t have to be there everything but showing up when and how you can will be so appreciated.
Ideas of what to say to your friend with an illness
These could be helpful ideas of what to say when your friend is suffering.
And please note that YOU know your friend better than anyone and you will know what ideas below would be helpful or possibly hurtful. Go with your gut in what to say and how to support them.
“I can’t imagine what you’re going through. I admire you and hope you know how amazing I think you are.”
“You’re going through so much right now but don’t give up hope, you will make it to the other side of this journey. I’ll walk this with you every step of the way.”
“You’ve been on my side so many times, you’ve held my hand, and had my back – I am here to do the same for you.”
“I hope you know how much I love you and I’m here for you any time, day or night.”
“I want to help you today. Would you prefer a meal brought by for dinner or maybe coffee at breakfast?”
“Tell me what scares you the most about what you’re going through right now.” – and then just listen and be there.
“I know you’re in so much pain. I hate this for you. Please know I’m always here for you no matter how long you’re sick.”
“I’ll never leave your side, no matter how hard it gets.”
“You’re my hero and you inspire me daily with your strength but please know I’m here for you when you need to cry it out.”
“You don’t deserve what you’re going through. You deserve nothing but the best and I love you.”
“This journey is so dang hard. You deserve an easier journey. Please know I’m here the whole way.”
“You inspire me and I love you. How can I help you today?”
“It’s okay to cry. My shoulder is here as a soft place to shed some tears.”
“I hope you know that you did nothing to deserve this.”
“This isn’t your fault.”
“It’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay to cry, to lay in bed and rest.”
“I can’t imagine how hard it is to live with this level of pain every day. I want to be the best support I can to do. Is there anything specifically you need from me?”
Ideas of what not to say to a suffering friend
Some things that could be triggering to your friend that should be avoided.
There are some triggering things that are cliché and often said to those hurting. I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of saying one or more a time or two. It isn’t anything to be ashamed of, but rather to just know these aren’t the best things to say to a hurting friend moving forward. This isn’t an exhaustive list but a good place to begin.
- Everything happens for a reason
- God is teaching you something in this
- God wouldn’t give you what you can’t handle
- Just think positively, it’ll all end up okay
- You look terrible today
- Your body is such a mess
- You don’t look sick (this is hurtful to someone with a long-lasting and invisible illness)
- I remember when I was sick that one time….(and then you launch into your own story instead of just listening to their story and being there for them.)
- It’ll be okay (you don’t know that and they probably don’t feel that way. Instead say something like “I don’t know how this will end up but I’m here for you every step of the way.)
- I’m praying for you (Instead, pray for them right then and there. Or, if you aren’t comfortable doing that, write a prayer out and send it to them. You know how often we hear I’m praying for you and it feels like empty words? Often.)
Bonus tip: I encourage you to listen, listen, listen to your friend and try to bite your tongue in telling your friend a life story of your own that may or may not parallel their situation. Now, there can be a time and place for a story but try to keep that short and not frequent. It’s human nature to try and relate a story to a friends story but it isn’t often that helpful.
Final thoughts of encouraging words for a friend going through a tough time
Don’t overthink it to the point of becoming paralyzed.
Most people will understand if you stick your foot in your mouth a time or two. It’s okay. I would just say that if you’re coming from a good place, an honest and compassionate place, the kind and loving words, and actions, will flow easily.
Easy ideas to remember.
If your friend comes across your heart, send a quick text “I love you and hope you’re feeling as well as possible today”. If you’re at the store, swing by the cards section and grab a heartfelt card. Talk to your friend earlier and she cried from the overwhelm of being sick and raising kids? Phone her up and say something like, “I want to come over Saturday night for a few hours and help with the kids and laundry. Tell me what time would be best for you and I’ll pop by.”
I hope this has been helpful. Remember, these are my personal suggestions. If something doesn’t resonate with you, or your friendship, follow your gut and support your friend the way you feel best for your friendship.
In the end, having a friend who sticks around during the messy, the hard, the painful is what matters most. Oftentimes, those with illnesses are left by the wayside and become lonely and isolated. I encourage you to do what you can to support your friend for the long-haul. That is what strong and real friendships do, they support through the hard, celebrate the good, laugh, cry, and hold one another.
Free coloring book
Pin for later reading
CLICK THE BELOW IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD THE FREE PDF AND PRINT FROM HOME
Nell writes about slow and intentional living for the busy woman who is tired of chasing hustle and ready for more peace and calm.