When someone close to you is feeling sad, it’s an instant reaction to want to make them feel better, but there’s also a sense of helplessness. That’s especially true when the individual doesn’t want to divulge the problem.
When you don’t know what’s happening, you can’t offer constructive advice. But the person isn’t likely looking for someone to fix things for them.
In most cases, sad friends only want someone to be there for them. That’s the very least any of us can do and would be automatic.
While you can’t eliminate the upset or the worry by sitting with someone and holding a generalized conversation, in some way, you might be helping them look at their situation a bit more clearly or even from a different perspective without even knowing.
In that sense, they’ll feel better if even for just those moments you spend with them. Let’s look at actions you can take that might bring a sad friend a smile.
How do you comfort someone who is sad?
People can become sad for numerous reasons. Without getting into the chemistry of the brain and the scientific terminology, these chemistries can create varied moods, including feeling low, sad, and even depressed when thrown off balance.
We must pay attention to how imbalanced we become, the degree of sadness suffered, and how long it endures. But sometimes, the individual is unable to notice or recognize the level to which they might have fallen.
It takes a friend to nudge them to see if everything is okay. Most will say they’re fine, but an astute buddy will see the changes in demeanor.
The important thing is if these changes are dramatic and have been prolonged, encouraging someone to reach out to a doctor for a discussion on what’s been happening with the mood is wise. You can even offer to tag along for support.
Sadness should be temporary, and usually, you can bring someone back to feeling better without too much trouble. When it’s persistent and ongoing with no ability to relieve it, help is a good idea.
Now, let’s look at a few ideas on how you can work to help make those friends who are feeling down look at things with a brighter mindset. Here are a few tips:
Surprise them with a small gesture
That doesn’t mean going shopping. A small gesture wrapped up pretty doesn’t have to cost a thing. You’re not supposed to make someone feel worse by spending a fortune on them.
The idea is to be thoughtful and generous with a “thinking of you” gesture. That can comprise any number of things that you can “find.”
Walk the beach to look for a hag stone in the shape of a heart to show you care, then wrap it in a napkin with a ribbon. Try to find something silly that only the two of you would get and laugh about it – blow up a meme or create it.
Any time someone receives a gesture from a person they’re close to, it makes them feel good.
Text them a sweet message
Sometimes texting can be perceived as impersonal, but it truly depends on how you view it. When you know your pal is feeling solemn, it’s a kind thought to send them a text to brighten that particular moment in their day. They’ll recognize you were thinking of them, which will warm their hearts.
In another sense, sometimes people don’t feel comfortable talking about the things that bother them in a face-to-face scenario. They either feel some shame or are afraid of how you might perceive them.
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Of course, all of us would discount those sentiments. Still, many of us go through bouts of feeling like this at some point.
Reaching out via text could spark a conversation leading to the issue that the person is dealing with. Perhaps, the whole problem will come tumbling out, and the two of you can toss solutions around that might be of benefit.
If you notice a hesitance when offering advice, it’s wise to stop, listen and be supportive. Some people don’t want help, only an ear, so you can genuinely make them feel better.
Silence is a virtue
Some people will ask their best friend to come, not ask any questions, no talking, and simply sit quietly with them. Just knowing you’re there is a comfort.
The issues are often too difficult to deal with at that point. They might still be processing the events. It’s important not to force things but, instead, do as they prefer for as long as they choose.
Ultimately, the time you spend with them will mean the world to them, and they will begin to feel better at some point.
Write them a friendship letter
In that same vein, while sitting silently, you can busy yourself by writing a friendship letter. It wouldn’t be the time to hand it over. Still, in the same context as journaling, the letter can express your feelings concerning the friendship.
Many people choose to journal as a way to expel their feelings and emotions onto paper so they can relieve stress and allow for only positive thoughts.
In this situation, you’ll expel the breadth of your emotions about how the friendship affects your life and what it brings to you as a person.
The feelings from your heart should pour into the letter. It shouldn’t be something you genuinely need to think about, as these emotions should guide you.
At some point, when the two of you break from your period of silence, instead of giving the letter over, find a place to place it where they will ultimately find it and can read it privately.
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It could even encourage them to write about what’s bothering them, but it should indeed bring them a sense of feeling better.
Opening up is hard to do
For the friend who wants to talk about it, don’t be the friend that interjects at every pause. Be the friend who sits and listens until the individual has divulged all there is to tell.
It will be challenging since we cannot listen to someone’s problems without becoming stirred up to jump into the conversation with every bit of advice we can muster (or was that just me.)
The thing is, it’s essential to control urges and let your buddy vent fully. The person might be someone who puts everything out on the table to get it off their chest but wants nothing in return, only that you listen to what they have to say.
You’ll need to wait on your cue. If you get the heads up, like if the question of “what do you think” crops up, then you can go in with both barrels blazing because you got permission.
That still doesn’t mean you’ll have the right answers or find the appropriate solution. But you can offer your best opinion on the topic, and your friend can do with that as they choose. Likely, though, they will feel much better.
The funk is not subsiding, and you’re concerned
Your friend has been in what appears to be a deep funk for a period of greater than a week with no sign of coming out of it. Despite efforts, nothing is working to dissuade the mood, and no one is sure what has caused the sadness.
There is little interest in activities that were once of interest or self-care, missing days of work, eating, and sleeping sporadically. This is a cry for help.
In this situation, there is a deeper issue than mere sadness. This person is sinking into depression. Without seeking a doctor’s attention, it will likely grow worse instead of getting better.
Some people struggling like this won’t want to go, and others will jump at the chance to rid themselves of the eternal gloom. In either situation, the individual will need a sound support system.
You can encourage the doctor’s visit and offer to take the individual. That’s a first step in showing you’re there for them. It will take time after seeing the doctor, but it will get better with the proper care plan.
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No one can force another person to stop feeling low or sad. There’s a common misperception that if we just say or do the right thing or try to solve the issue, everything will be fine.
We can’t begin to know the depths of what someone else is going through or why. The best thing any of us can do for the people we care about is to offer our love and support when needed and how they prefer to receive it.
Hopefully, it will be enough to feel better in the moment and more so as time passes.
Sadness is only supposed to be temporary. Knowing that alone should light a little flame of positivity in people and make everyone feel just a little bit better in general.