How to Cheer Someone Up

Four Parts:Help Cheering Someone UpListening and RelatingOffering Gestures of KindnessDoing Your Part

Everybody gets sad from time to time. Cheering someone up is all about taking the time to listen to them, empathizing with what they're going through, and helping them get a bit of perspective. If you want to know how to cheer someone up, here are some easy steps to help you get them started on the way to healing.

Help Cheering Someone Up

Listening Tips

Sample Gift Ideas

Part 1
Listening and Relating

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    Listen to them. Half of the time, sad or stressed people aren't really looking for an answer; they just want to be heard and have a chance to vent. Do you know why they're sad? Do they seem like sharing their feelings with you? Pull up a chair, offer a smile, and give them a shoulder to cry on.
    • Never interrupt them in the middle of their story. Unless there is a pause that tells you commentary is okay, keep your side comments to "Oh" and "Man". Otherwise, you could come off as very rude, making them feel even worse.
    • Seem genuinely interested in what their problem is, even if you couldn't care less or don't really know how to relate. The more interested in their problem you are, the more interested in them you seem, and isn't that the very heart of the issue? People want other people to care for them and be interested in their success. Try to communicate that.
    • Don't let them feel like a burden. Most of the times, people are hesitant to trust other people with their problems because they don't want the listener to feel saddled with responsibilities.So, If necessary, assure the person who needs cheering up that they aren't in any way a burden, and that you're happy to listen and offer advice if you can.
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    Ask them relevant questions. There's no better way to get involved in the conversation other than asking questions, especially questions about how the other person feels. Relevant questions, however, are the key here. Asking questions that have nothing to do with the problem will confuse them, discouraging them from opening up.
    • Here are some great general questions to ask the person in need of cheering up. Hopefully, they'll motivate the person to talk about their feelings, helping them vent:
      • "How does that make you feel?"
      • "Has this ever happened to you before?"
      • "Is there anyone specifically who you could turn to who could give you advice?"
      • "What do you think you'll do when it comes time to act?"
      • "Is there any way that I can help?" (Be prepared to help them!)
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    Relate to them, if appropriate, making sure not to take the spotlight from them. Don't steal the attention away from them, but offer a similar story or experience that you've gone through if you think it might help. Any lessons that you learned can be really helpful, even if they're ultimately not appropriate for the other person.
    • Relating to someone else is all about the way you say something, not what you say. If someone tells you their father has just been diagnosed with cancer, it's not really helpful to say: "Well if it makes you feel any better, my grandpa was just diagnosed with cancer too.” Instead, say something like: "I know how devastating this kind of thing can be. My grandpa was diagnosed with cancer last spring, and it was gut-wrenching for me to deal with it. I can only imagine what kind of pain you're going through right now."
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    After listening, give them advice if they ask for it. After figuring out just what the problem is, take a little bit of time to deliberate over what their best course of action might be. Let them know you have an idea of what they could do. If you don't, be honest to yourself and them making sure you don't lie. Take them to a person who has a better fix for the problem than you have.
    • Remember, there's rarely a single, perfect solution for a problem. Be sure to offer the person you're comforting one option, and make sure they understand that they have other options. One way to do this is to give them advice by using words like "perhaps," "maybe," "might," etc. This way they won't feel guilty if they decide not to follow your advice.
    • Try to be honest to them, too. The worst thing you can do to someone in such a fragile state is outright lie. If you're talking about subjects with serious consequences, try to tell the truth, even if it might hurt. If your girlfriend is asking advice about her boyfriend who dumped her, however, it's okay to call the boyfriend a scumbag even if he's alright. In that case, making her feel better is more important than telling the truth.
    • Be careful about giving unsolicited advice, or advice that people don't ask for. The other person may not want it, and if they follow it and fail (by no fault of your own), they could blame you.
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    Get face to face. For as great and easy technology makes life, it can also make everything a bit more difficult. It's tempting to want to send your friend a nice message via text, but that probably won't do it. It's best to show you really care in person. Since so much of life is spent behind a screen now, paying a face-to-face visit really means something.
    • Snail mail is almost becoming romantic -- it's so, so thoughtful. E-cards will do, but if you want to send them a really kind message, throw 'em a card in the mail. They certainly won't be expecting it!

Part 2
Offering Gestures of Kindness

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    Give them a gift. Can you remember a time when someone gave you a gift without an obligation to do so? How warm and fuzzy did you feel inside when it happened? Giving a gift to someone can brighten their whole day, helping them understand that the gesture of the gift is more important than the gift itself.
    • A gift doesn't have to cost a lot of money, or even be a physical thing, to have an impact. Take them to your secret thinking spot, or show them how to fold an origami crane. Small gestures like these are often more priceless than something you can buy in a store.
    • Offer them something old and cared for. An old heirloom or keepsake is emotionally resonant because you've held on to it for a long time, and therefore cherish it. Old items are also symbol messages that life moves on, even when we can't imagine that it will.
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    Try to make them smile. Make them smile by reminding them how much you care about them and smile a reassuring smile yourself. Or maybe, if you know they'll be okay with it, you could even tickle them!
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    Make them laugh. Jokes and funny stories are always good ice-breakers after you've talked about a problem for a long time. The joke doesn't need to be a knee-slapper, but if it's said at the right time, it'll have a huge effect.
    • Don't be afraid to make fun of yourself. Making fun of the person you're cheering up is hard. Making fun of yourself is easy: Highlight a time when you embarrassed yourself, did something stupid, or got caught in a situation where you were way over your head. Your friend will appreciate the humor.
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    Surprise them. Gifts on Christmas and birthdays, thoughtfulness on Valentine's Day and other holidays, it's all pretty par for the course. But being thoughtful on the 34th Tuesday of the year is something they'll never expect. When you're not expecting it, gifts are even more meaningful.
    • Think about what that person loves the most in the world and see if you can't surprise them with it. Maybe they love food; so surprise them with dinner, or get them cooking classes. Maybe they love movies or musicals; so surprise them with a movie night or tickets to a show.
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    Try to take their mind off it. Now that you've listened, offered advice and extended a hand of kindness, try to make sure they don't let their problem/s weigh them down or depress them. Don't say something like "Anyway, blah blah" or "Get over it, it's not that bad" because that undoes everything you've just worked for. Instead, give them some time to get their bearings, and then try saying something like "Want to hear a funny story?" and see how they respond to it.
    • Embrace your social-savviness to gauge where they are on the cheering-up process. If your friend is mid-bawl, it's not the time to ask them if they want to hear about your day. But if s/he just had an argument with mom and seems to have cooled down a bit, feel 'em out. It's all about timing.
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    Change their environment. More often than not, we take cues from our surroundings and let them determine our moods. If you need to get someone out of a funk, get them out! Having a different set of stimuli will encourage different thought patterns and new -- better -- ways of thinking.
    • It doesn't have to be to a club or bar. Being social isn't always the answer. Heck, a trip to the local dog park might bombard them with enough cuteness that their mind goes elsewhere. Whatever you can see your friend being distracted by, do it. It's good for them, whether they want to stay in their pjs or not.

Part 3
Doing Your Part

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    Play to your strengths. Not all of us are Julia Child, Carrot Top (...), or Bob Ross. But most of us do have something we're good at. Whatever it is, use it to cheer up your friend. Can you cook a mean lasagna? Fantastic -- it's dinner time somewhere. Can you reel off jokes like word play is a skill taught in kindergarten? Can you paint a mean shed on the side of an ethereal-looking mountain? Great. These skills can also be happy-making skills.
    • Use your creativity and finesse to tackle their blues. Sing them a song at the top of your lungs. Take them along on a hike. Force your kitten on them. What's in your tool belt of skills? Employ them.
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    Be optimistic. Look on the sunny side of life. Focus on the half-full, not the half-empty. Being optimistic is a mindset, and it can be infectious if used in the right way. Be on the lookout for interesting, exciting, or uplifting opportunities that your friend might have overlooked while they were busy being pessimistic.
    • There's almost always a silver lining to a problem. We sometimes don't want to look at it, but it's usually there. Here are a few ways to think about some common problems in a more positive manner:
      • My partner/significant other broke up with me. "Don't worry about someone who doesn't value you completely as a person. If s/he doesn't get how special you are, they probably don't deserve you. There are plenty of other eligible people out there who will."
      • Someone in my family/social circle died. "Death is natural by-product of life. While you can't bring the person back, you can celebrate how much they affected your life, and perhaps how much you changed theirs. Be grateful for the time you did get to spend with them."
      • I lost my job. "Your job is an important reflection of who you are, but it's not the whole picture. Think of the lessons you learned while at your job, and try to find ways to apply them to your next job in the future. Finding a job is all about working harder than everyone else. Be motivated to show employers how much more qualified you are than everyone else."
      • I don't have confidence in myself. "You have so much to be confident about. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses; it's what makes us unique and beautiful. I like you just the way you are. I don't see any reason why you shouldn't have just as much confidence as the person next door."
      • I don't know what's wrong, I just know I feel bad. "It's okay to feel blue. Our happy moments are made even brighter by the darker ones. Don't force it if you don't feel like it, but think of how lucky you are compared to other people. That always manages to help me."
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    Don't be sad yourself. If you are down in the dumps, how are you going to cheer up your friend? Strike a good balance between concerned — you want them to know that you're not happy that they're not happy — and optimistic — being a happy-go-lucky, glass-half-full kind of person. It's a lot of work, and it can be emotionally grinding, but your friend is worth it, right?
    • Help them out and do as much as you can for them, so they still know that someone cares. This builds trust. They know they can rely on you. Do this, always, with a smile.
    • Offer to take their mind off of it with an activity, like going to the movies, going on a hike, swimming, or gaming. If they don't want to be distracted, don't pester them about it: You can't help people who don't want to help themselves. Stay happy, stay dedicated, and stay available until they want to sort things out or forget about it.
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    Know that sometimes people need to be sad. There are some people in the world who will benefit more from a day of sadness than others -- to those, it offers time for reflection, self-analysis, and refueling. Your friend may just need a bit to gather their woes and get back at it. If s/he requests this, respect it. It's not your duty to fix them. In time, they'll fix themselves.
    • And yet there are times when people should be sad. It's not logical to expect a girl whose father died three months ago to all of a sudden snap out of it. Each person is different and their timeline of grief is as unique to them as their fingerprints. If they're still grieving from an event, the only thing you can do is stay by their side. That speaks for itself.


  • Hug them! (If they are ok with it). Hugging them when they don't want a hug will make them more upset.
  • Tell them a funny story or watch something funny!
  • Write them a very kind letter or card about how much of a good friend they are, and how much you love and care about them.
  • Some ideas for gifts:
    • A scented stress relief candle.
    • Chocolate! (If the person/people in question are not allergic.)
    • A humorous certificate of some "achievement." For example, if they broke up with someone and are sad about that, give them a certificate labeling them "Sob Story Of The Year." (Only do this if they're in a state able to accept it, however. See Warnings, below.)

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