How to Comfort Your Friend

Two Parts:Before You StartComforting Your Friend

One of the nicest things about having friends is that they can be there for you when you're feeling upset. They can comfort you, or even help you in a way. This article will explain how to comfort an upset or crying friend.

Part 1
Before You Start

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    Know the situation before you try to help your friend. This will give you an advantage because it'll make it easier for you to know what are the right and wrong statements to make. Also, you'll be able to tell what your friend is upset about, and you can avoid awkwardly sitting with no idea what is going on or what to say.
    • If you do not know what the situation is, don't worry about it. As long as you're there for your friend, that is good enough. Knowing about the situation helps you to make appropriate comments, and if you don't know the problem, don't make comments.
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    Observe how upset your friend is. According to that, comfort them. If they appear to be extremely troubled, you may have to step beyond your comfort zone to reach them. If they aren't too upset, but are still worried about something, it shouldn't be too hard to help them.

Part 2
Comforting Your Friend

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    Compliment your friend about their other great abilities and skills, especially if they are upset about something they are not good at. Compliments will also boost their confidence if a recent failure or rejection has happened. However, be cautious when complimenting them because if you overdo it or mention something that is either a half-truth or not true about them at all, your friend may feel hurt and withdraw even more. Remember that your friend's fragility increases when he/she is feeling bad about him/herself. People can understand the good and bad things in them, so they can identify false praise. Compliment, don't flatter.
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    Know what type of consolation to carry out. There are two main types of consolation: Erect consolation and tender consolation. What is erect and tender consolation? Well, they differ significantly. Erect consolation is a type of comforting that may be thought "politically correct"--how you might comfort a person you are not particularly close to. For family and friends, most people prefer to use tender consolation--this means hugs and embraces, murmurs of reassurances, and utterances of "It will be okay." Tender consolation is not very effective but will momentarily cheer up the person who is upset. Erect consolation is effective, but will not immediately cheer the sad person up unless you are exceptionally tactful. The best way to do it is to start of with a bit of tender consolation and continue with erect yet compassionate comforting. This will leave your friend with his/her problems solved and make him/her feel better immediately upon your approach.
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    In a kind and understanding way, gently remind your friend that no one is perfect. The important thing is that we learn from our mistakes. But remember to say it tactfully, or you may end up sounding like "You aren't good enough".Ask your friend, "What can we learn from this?" However, make sure he/she is willing to talk and think about the situation before starting this conversation or you may unintentionally hurt him/her.
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    Occasionally, all your friend needs is to be able to vent and talk about what is bothering them without being judged. Therefore, be ready to listen patiently for however long your friend needs you to be there. However, if you need to get to an appointment or you feel that the area you two are in isn't the best environment to talk, gently let him/her know by saying somewhere along the lines of: "I think we should talk somewhere else" or "Can we continue this later? I need to go somewhere, but I'll be back as soon as possible." Make sure he/she understands that you really do want to listen, but you just don't have time or think that the environment is bad. Don't say anything like "You're such a crybaby" or like that.
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    Tell your friend that you truly love him/her the way he/she is, but be careful when telling this to a friend of the opposite gender for he/she may take it the wrong way, especially if your friend has just been through a recent breakup. It doesn't matter how your friend looks, what he/she wears, etc. Make sure you have a genuine tone in your voice when you tell your friend for this could be a moment where he/she is very uncertain about him/herself!
    • Mention that this world would be nothing without your friend.
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    A hug will do wonders for your friend, whether he/she shared anything with you or not. Sometimes, a friend just needs another friend's touch to make him/her feel loved and better. You could also pat him/her gently on the shoulder or back. Physical contact is essential. This is not the time to be nervous about physical contact.


  • Don't tell other people about the problems your friend is having. It will make your friend mad and less likely to trust you.
  • Don't worry if you can't solve your friend's problems, sometimes they just need a listening ear. And sometimes that can be the most valuable thing of all.
  • Be an active listener. When your friends pause and look to you for a response, repeat what they just said, but in your own words, to show that you are really listening and sympathizing.
  • Give your friend a hug and tell them you love them. Giving them a hug when they are upset will always let them know how much you love and care about them. It also helps them feel better.
  • If they are crying, give them a big hug, tell them you love them, and tell them you are always there for them.
  • Show your friends they are your focus by politely dismissing people who also want to say something to you. Turn your cell phone off. The person you are helping will appreciate this.
  • Joke around with them to make them happy, but don't get them angry.
  • Be loving but not too loving. Just say what you would want someone to say to you in a crisis or bad day.
  • Take them out somewhere. (Movies, mall, the park, their favorite restaurant, the supermarket, etc.).
  • Rub their shoulder and when they get happier keep rubbing them on their back.
  • Tell them they make progress by facing there fears and must never give up.
  • Always remember to be honest with them.
  • If they just need some time alone to figure things out for themselves, don't interfere.


  • Avoid saying "Life sucks" or "Oh, everyone has that problem." It belittles their problem, not to mention not making them feel any better.
  • Don't be mean when she is crying. Being mean will make her twice as sad as she already is!
  • Never dismiss your friends' feelings. Telling people to simply pick themselves up or that their problems are nothing really invalidates their feelings and rarely helps.
  • Avoid talking about yourself and your own problems, even if they are the same as theirs. You may feel bad too, but saying so will not make them feel any better.
  • If your friend is not willing to share his or her problem, do not pester him or her to do so. Your friend may just like to be alone for some time. Allow that.
  • Unless they really are blowing things out of proportion, or you know (and can tell them) that things will get better.
  • If hugging is banned in your school give them a high five or say something nice.

Article Info

Categories: Supporting Friends