How to Support Friends when They Are Down

If you have a friend that's down and he/she cannot tell you why, you may have to dig deep if you want to help. Here's how.


  1. Image titled Support Friends when They Are Down Step 01
    Approach your friend and ask "What's the matter?". If your friend decides to tell you, then listen with all your heart; if he or she refuses to, then don't force it.
  2. Image titled Support Friends when They Are Down Step 02
    Talk to your friend about how it's all going to be fine and how it's not his or her fault. Basically, it is most important to comfort and motivate your friend.
  3. Image titled Support Friends when They Are Down Step 03
    Stress the positives. If your friend still thinks negatively, try to make him or her think positively. Say things such as "Look, just because you upset someone you care about, it doesn't mean they're going to leave you forever. Think about him/her and yourself".
  4. Image titled Support Friends when They Are Down Step 04
    Say something like, "I think maybe you need some time alone with your thoughts/to process everything. I'm going to go out and pick up some ice cream for us (ice cream and chocolate solve everything) and we can talk about it some more when I get back." After that you will do as you said; give your friend a little time to him or herself to think, if he or she asks you to stay, then stay. You know you have opened a door when your friend asks this of you.
  5. Image titled Support Friends when They Are Down Step 05
    Once their thinking time is over (approx. 10-20 minutes will do), say to them "Have you thought it through?" if they say yes and start saying things like "You're right," if they haven't then finalize it by saying something about your past when you felt down. Then tell them a story about something that happened to you that got you down.
  6. Image titled Support Friends when They Are Down Step 06
    Reflect the positive outcome. Once your comforting has finished and you have answered any questions your friend may have asked, smile at him or her and say "Yes... it was a heck of a bad time then." And just comfort him or her until the time is right. Hopefully, that's when he or she will start laughing or smiling.


  • Telling stories about times when you and/or other people were down are not necessarily helpful. When someone is down, he or she really needs attention to his or her own emotions, and does not need to hear about something else, but just time and a good listener to help process his or her emotions.
  • If your friend is still down on the next week, then the problem may be serious.
  • If your friend is smiling the next time you see them then you know you have accomplished what you wanted, and that's them smiling and saying to you "I'm glad you were there with me."
  • Don't act too excited; if he or she is really sensitive you could overwhelm them even more.
  • Tell your friend the plus points about him or her.


  • Don't use this as an opportunity to talk about yourself and your own problems. This is about your friend! There is nothing worse than one person adding to the woes by trying to out-compete with the other's own woes - drop it and be empathetic in more constructive ways.
  • When you say you will let your friend have time to think, let him or her think. Don't stay close to your friend at this moment; give some space and just let your friend think things through.
  • Do not force your friend to do anything he or she doesn't want to, just force your friend to try to smile without saying something like "Just smile or I'll break your legs!" That's not supportive, that's just piling up more and more negativity and pressure on your friend.

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Categories: Supporting Friends