Encouraging Words That INSPIRE a Friend In Need

Mar 13, 2024

Words of Encouragement

There are moments when we all fall on hard times and find ourselves in the depths of discouragement.

We think we’re not rich enough, clever enough, beautiful enough, or good enough at whatever it is that we think we should be doing better. . .

It’s often so hard to pull ourselves up out of that dark little hole that we end up slowly digging ourselves down deeper and deeper into a state of depression. 

It’s during these times that a simple act of kindness can make a world of difference.

Not only does offering honest words of encouragement brighten someone’s day, it also has a magical way of lifting our own spirits, too.

Whether it’s a friend struggling with a difficult task, a family member facing tough times, or a colleague feeling overwhelmed, some simple words can make a profoundly positive difference

They can EVEN change the course of someone’s life. . .

In this post, we’ll explore the incredible ripple effect that comes from offering a few well-timed uplifting words and showing someone how much you care.

7 Examples of Encouraging Words

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say.

So, if you need a little steer, below are seven ideas that will make your friend feel they are not alone AND can get their life back on track. 

Although there are certainly some ‘wrong’ words you can use (like: “Stop being a cry baby and just get over it!”), I’m not sure there’s a specific set of right words.

So, you might want to use these ideas as a launch pad for your own, or take them as-is.

Up to you.

Here goes:

1. “It’s okay to feel…”

During challenging times, it’s natural to experience a wide range of emotions.

Some days, you might feel overwhelmed, while on others, you might be filled with hope.

It can be very confusing, disorientating, disheartening and overwhelming as the tides of the mind seem to change at will.

One of the most encouraging messages you can offer someone in this state is, “It’s okay to feel. . .”

This simple acknowledgment can help your friend understand that their emotions are valid, and that it’s fine to embrace their feelings.

Sometimes all you need is someone to tell you that what you’re feeling is okay. That you’re not weird. That you’re not mad. That you’ll be okay. 

That validation in itself can be HUGELY powerful.

spiral staircase into the clouds

2. “You’ll get through this.”

In the midst of adversity, it’s vital to remind your friend that they have the strength to overcome whatever it is they are facing.

“You’ll get through this” is a message that instills faith and determination.

You might choose to change it to, “We’ll get through this”, which adds another layer of supportive power, as you instill in them the idea that you’ll face the challenges together.

That can be massively motivating for someone who feels weak and alone. 

3. “Don’t give up.”

It’s a pretty obvious one, but “Don’t give up” are surprisingly powerful words, especially if they’re said with conviction and confidence. 

Giving up is always the easy option. The human mind’s default position is to view things critically and follow the path of least resistance — and giving up has to be the easiest of all. 

Sadly, people often give up as they are right on the verge of a breakthrough. . .

4. “You’re braver than you believe.”

Reminding someone that they possess courage they might not even be aware of can be very powerful, especially if you know that person well.

If you can, remind them of a time when they demonstrated their resolve.

If you can’t, then make sure that you show your belief in their ability to face and over their challenges

It’s true to say that we usually don’t know how brave we are until we are tested.

And it’s often the case that other people can see our bravery and potential more than we can ourselves. 

5. “One step at a time.”

This gentle reminder encourages them to focus on taking small, manageable steps to achieve their goals, rather than feeling overwhelmed by the big picture.

Most big issues are actually a combination of smaller issues — but when the whole thing is ‘in your face’ and stressing you out, the mind is too volatile and scattered to see the reality of the situation.

So, if you can, help them unpack the issues and build a journey (a strategy) through them, one step at a time.

two women hugging

6. “I’m here for you.”

One of the most touching ways to offer encouragement is by simply letting your friend know that you care.

“I’m here for you” is an incredibly powerful message that shows your support and love.

It reassures them that they’re not alone in their struggles and can rely on you during their toughest times. 

More often than not, it’s friendship — meaningful human connections — that keeps things from spiraling out of control.

7. “Nothing can stop you.”

Finally, this sentence instills determination and self-belief, as the image of “winning” is a powerful one, loaded with emotion and positive imagery. 

There are countless examples throughout history of ‘ordinary’ people achieving the impossible. 

And it’s this invincible, indestructible, unstoppable mindset that helped them do it. 

Other Ways to Encourage a Friend In Need

Depending on the situation, a combination of the words above (plus anything else you think will help) is likely to be best.

But there some other important things you can do to show you care when a friend is going through tough times:

a clock

Be an Active Listener

Before you do anything else, listen to your friend’s concerns and feelings.

Let them express themselves and share their thoughts.

Listen DEEPLY.

Active listening is a crucial first step in providing meaningful support, so make sure that you ARE actually actively listening and not just waiting for an opportunity to jump in and give advice or offer the words of encouragement you’ve read in this blog post!

Be Patient

Recovery and growth take time.

Understand that your friend may not bounce back immediately. It may well be the case that your encouraging words don’t seem to be having an immediate effect — but BE PATIENT. 

Give them the time and space they need to heal a little and regain their mental stability and strength.

Just as it takes time for a swirling glass full of muddy water to slow down and settle so that the junk is at the bottom and the water is clear above, the mind needs time to settle so that it has the opportunity to temporarily rise above the issues and see clearly.

Rushing them along and telling them they should be feeling better now because of A.B or C (which is actually more about validating YOUR own prowess in counseling than helping THEM move forward!) is likely to make them feel more anxious and depressed. . .

So, take it slowly, at their pace, and make sure that you are patient as you surround them with positivity and love. 

a shopping trolley full of groceries

Provide Practical Help

In addition to emotional support, you can also offer practical help.

This could involve helping with daily tasks, offering to run errands, or lending a hand in any way that eases their burden.

The potential danger with this is over-supporting.

While it’s a good idea to offer to help — and even insist at times, if needed — don’t help to the extent that they become more helpless and never leave the house/their room.

Getting out and about, even if it’s just a quick walk to the shop, distracts the mind and helps to change the inputs. 

It also means they can get out into the world for a while, which shows them, even subconsciously, that life is still going on (and they can get some fresh air, too, which helps). 

Send Uplifting Messages

In today’s digital age, sending encouraging messages is easier than ever.

Sending someone a funny or uplifting meme or cute video clip is also often enough to bring a smile to their face.

A smile is often enough to temporarily break the negative feedback loop and open a door in their mind that allows some positive energy to flow in. 

Over time, this can help to shift the mind into a more positive space. It’s unlikely to be a ‘cure’, but it can be a minor contributing factor in their transition to a more permanent positive mindset.

What you put into your messages or memes etc is up to you, but you could consider basing them on the encouraging language we discussed earlier.

Man standing on a very high cliff

Share Inspiring Stories

This is linked to the encouraging words “Nothing can stop you.”

Sharing inspiring stories can help your friend to not only understand that they CAN make it through their hardships, but that they can even go on to achieve things they dare not even dream of!

Sharing real life stories like these help them get their own story in perspective as well as inspire them to overcome their challenges.

In many cases, the struggles that the people in these stories have overcome are much bigger than the one your friend is currently facing, which helps to give some clarity to the reality of the situation they are in.

If you need a place to start, here is a selection of famous inspiring stories. stories

Model (and Encourage) Positive Body Language

The mind and body are more closely connected than you might think. 

For example, when you stand straight, look people in the eyes, and use open and confident movements, it often makes you feel strong and capable.

On the other hand, if you slouch or avoid eye contact, it can make you feel less secure or energetic.

In other words: The way we use our body affects our mental state

Or, as I like to say: Your physical framing affects how you feel.

The likelihood is that when you’re speaking to your friend and trying to encourage them, their body language is ‘weak’.

They may well have their shoulders rounded, their head bowed and avoid eye contact with you. 

It can be difficult to tell a friend to sit with a straight back and look you in the eye, as they might feel they’re back in school!

But, if you can gently encourage your friend to do some of those things, and also model positive body framing yourself, it can help to give them some subtle and much needed energy.

Woman typing into her phone at night by a lake

Just Be There

Sometimes, your mere presence can be comforting.

Spend time with your friend, engage in activities you both enjoy, or simply be there when they need to talk.

Your support goes a long way in making them feel loved and valued.

Simply being there whenever they need you is sometimes enough to provide the support they so desperately need.

Encourage Professional Help

If your friend’s difficulties are severe and you are seriously concerned, it might be necessary to encourage them to seek professional help, such as therapy or counseling.

Sometimes, only a trained professional can provide the guidance and support that your friend needs to overcome their challenges.

Remember: It’s not a reflection on you, your abilities or your worth; it’s just the way things are.

You have no idea what’s really going on in your friend’s mind or how serious things are, so be cautious.

As teachers in schools we’re taught that if you have any kind of concern about a child’s mental or physical safety, “pass it on” immediately to a member of the safeguarding team so that they can evaluate and take action as needed.

I’d say it’s very much the same outside of schools and with adults.

if you have serious concerns, pass them on to the right people.

You might not be able to pinpoint precisely why you have those concerns but don’t let that deter you.

Trust your instincts.

That’s what they’re there for.

Weighing scales

Making The Difference

Never underestimate the power of friendship and the impact that your words in particular can have on someone you care about.

They have the potential to uplift, inspire, and even heal

They can even have the power to save lives.

So, reach out, be present and use the words and ideas we’ve discussed to make a positive impact.

You’ll find that the love and support you provide can be a tangible lifeline and give someone a real sense of hope when they need it most.

That hope you give them will provide them with the positive energy they need to motivate themselves, begin transforming themselves in the present and in doing so build a future that’s worth looking forward to.  

You never know, the insights you’ve gained by encouraging others may well come to your OWN rescue one day. . .

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