7 Ways to Console Someone Going Through a Hard Time

Photo Courtesy of Adair Rutledge

Knowing what to say to someone going through loss or hardship is always a challenge. You certainly don’t want to say the wrong thing, but saying nothing could be just as hurtful.

We’re here to help. We asked our CaringBridge users for some helpful words to share with someone in need of some consoling. Here are their ideas:

1. Be There for Them

We show up for the people we care about. Being there for someone can mean a lot of things, but most importantly: make sure you remain present throughout (and after) their crisis.

If they’re in the hospital, make sure to visit. Pick up the phone and give them a call, just because. Show up in the ways you know you’d need it, if you were in their place.

“I’m here for you” is a good place to start.

Diane Hollister

“I am always here for you. Stay positive. I will pray for you. Stay strong.”

Kitty Courts

“Just letting them know, you are there anytime day or night.”

Patty Smith

2. Tell Them (and Show) That You Love Them

Those three little words, “I love you,” can make a bigger impact than you know. During a difficult time, your family member or friend needs all the love they can get.

Beyond expressing your love with words, your actions can speak volumes as well. Offer to help out around the house, start a fundraiser, or give a thoughtful gift. It’s important to consider something practical that they would find useful or reminds them of a more positive time in their lives.

Here are some more ideas to show someone you love them.

3. Pray for Them

Offering prayers is a thoughtful gesture for someone who needs some consolation, and the act of praying may offer some peace for you as well.

“Prayers are so powerful.”

Debra Jones

“I will keep you in my prayers.”

Rebekah Depositar Arvin

4. Take Time to Listen

Showing up for someone is more than just what you say: it’s how well you listen. When your loved one is going through a difficult time, they may just need someone to ask them how they are really doing, and give them their full attention.

Letting them talk through what’s going on can be incredibly healing – and all you need to offer is an ear to listen.

“They just need you talk to them like a good friend. Ask them how they’re doing and taking time to listen is what they need most.”

Sharon Gray

“More importantly, make sure you listen to them – for a month, a year, ten years – however long it takes.”

Sally Killean Comparetto

5. A Hug Can Speak Volumes

Hugs can make your loved one feel supported and cared for during a challenging time. And did you know? There are actually scientific reasons behind this. Hugs can increase your oxytocin, which is a chemical associated with happiness and less stress.

Provided you feel comfortable enough to do so, open your arms wide and give your loved one a warm embrace. It might be just the thing they need to feel consoled.

“Just be there with hugs and say, I’m so sorry!”

Tommie Lois Thompson

6. Share Memories

If they lost a loved one, sharing stories of happier times can be truly heart-warming. They can cherish those memories forever.

When I lost my son the one thing that comforted me was knowing that people could share stories about him with me.  It has been 3 years and 10 months and I can still replay those stories in my mind – knowing how much he meant to others brings warm memories to me.”

Lynn Contino

“Share stories and not just at the funeral home. If you remember something later, find a way to share.”

Stacey Naylor-Fancelli

7. Continue Offering Support

Oftentimes, a person needs the most support in the weeks and months after a distressing event. It’s important that no matter what you do to comfort your loved one, you continue showing up for them.

How Do You Console a Loved One?

We hope these 7 ideas offered some guidance on what to say, or do, for your loved one. If you have any other ideas, we’d love to hear them! Please leave a comment below with your advice.

Comments (4)

Post a Comment

Rhonda Owens Mar 31, 2020 11:31pm
Well you will be there to comfort them, if they want to talk I should listen, let them start the conversation. Only give an opinion if they ask for it. I’m there with my friend in body, and I Listen and give answers if they want my opinion. And I ask to pray if they want too. God bless them. Let them grieve the best way they can. That’s my way of comforting my family and friends and others.
Core Spirit Mar 26, 2020 9:41am
We are collaborative global community for anybody who finds their purpose in helping others and this community combines tens of thousands of practitioners and the largest database of luminaries.
Linda Mar 07, 2020 8:10am
When someone is consumed by grief, worry, fear, physically speaking may seem impossible. Your throat swells shut and breathing is difficult. Just be there to sit with them or hold a hand. Don't expect them to be able to verbalize their feelings, wants or needs. Be there, put your arm around them, rub their back - these gestures can help them work through that moment in a bigger way than talking.
J Redman Feb 27, 2020 2:01pm
The offer of prayers is not welcome by all. Could be negatively received by some.