When we want to comfort someone close to us over text, we can be a little uncertain at first. While face-to-face interactions are preferred in times of need, text messages have emerged as a close second, bridging the gap when physical presence isn’t always possible.
In this article, we discuss the benefits, potential pitfalls, and best practices of providing comfort through text, supplemented with sample messages.
Benefits Of Comforting Someone Through Text
Disadvantages Of Comforting Someone Over Text
Tips On How To Comfort Someone Over Text
1. Call If You Can
Remember that it’s hard to always convey tone correctly in text messages, so ideally a call would help show your true emotion and comfort to your friend and will help you gauge what they need help with and how they are feeling.
Of course, that’s not always possible to make/receive calls but in the first instance, consider a call before a text.
2. Actually Send A Text Message
Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s not sufficient, so that you don’t send a message at all!
I can tell you, people remember who wasn’t there for them in hard times. So don’t be that person. Make contact in any way you can.
3. Be Honest
There is nothing wrong with being honest and starting your text with saying ‘I don’t have the words’, ‘I don’t know what to say to you’. But you are still trying.
4. Make It About Them
Your friend is going through a tough time. They don’t need to hear that your microwave won’t work and your boss is an idiot right now. Unless of course they ask, then it’s okay to share but just pass it through a filter of ‘is this even a problem in the grand scheme of things right now’.
5. Don’t Say….
Avoid the bad cliches, political opinions and religious speeches right now. Understand your audience member – telling someone that their mom/dad/dog has ‘gone to a better place’, ‘is needed in Heaven’, ‘It’s the Government’s fault’, ‘there’s plenty more fish in the sea’ …(you get the idea) won’t go down too well if they aren’t into that, and it will do the opposite of actually comforting them.
6. Show Them You Understand
If you’ve been in the same situation before, tell them you ‘understand what they are going through right now’ or if you haven’t, say ‘I can’t even imagine what you are going through right now’. Put yourself in their shoes right now – what would you want to, or need to hear from your friend?
7. Offer Your Condolences
Make it simple, and to the point. “I’m sorry for your loss of xyz.” “This must be a really rough time right now.”
8. Consider Their Humor
Much like point 5 above, consider the receiver’s sense of humor before you start sending funny gifs, memes or adding excessive emojis via text. And make sure you understand what the emojis that you are sending actually mean! That can be awkward, believe me! Sure, adding humor to situations can help, but approach with caution right now.
9. Offer Help
Include in your message that you are ‘there for them’, ‘thinking of them’ and that you also want to help in any way you can. Offers of help are great, but go the extra step and take initiative, with assistance like ‘I’m dropping into the store first thing in the morning, let me know what I can pick up for you.’ Or, ‘I’m baking a cake and will drop it at your front door tomorrow.’ If you know what they need (dog walked, babysitting, house cleaned, meals prepared etc), just arrange it and tell them you’ve got it covered. One less thing on their plate to worry about right now.
10. Follow Up
So, right now the text message is sufficient. Ask them, or tell them, that you will follow up with a phone call tomorrow/next week, or arrange a visit at a convenient time for them. Either way, ask if it’s okay to call them/follow up/see them and then make sure you actually stick to it. Put a reminder in your calendar.
Examples of Comforting Text Messages
If you want a few examples of how to comfort someone through text message, take inspiration from the following:
- “I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I’m here for you whenever you need to talk.”
- “I can’t even imagine how hard this must be for you, but I want you to know that I care about you and I’m here to support you.”
- “It’s okay to not be okay. Take all the time you need, and know that I’m here to listen whenever you want to talk.”
- “Sending you lots of love and positive energy today. You’re not alone in this.”
- “You’re in the trenches right now and you’re constantly in my thoughts. Remember that it’s okay to ask for help and support when you need it.”
- “I wish I could fix it for you, but I can be here to support you through it. Let me know what you need from me.”
- “Remember that you’re not defined by this situation. You’re an amazing person and I’m grateful to have you in my life.”
- “I’m sending you a virtual hug right now. I’m here to support you no matter what.”
- “Sometimes things don’t make sense, but know that I believe in you and I know you’ll get through this.”
- “It’s okay to take a step back and focus on your own needs. I’m here to support you through it all.”
How To Give Emotional Support Over Text
It’s always hard to see those we care for going through a tough time, and even harder when we can’t be there to personally cheer them up.
We can still be thoughtful and cheer our loved ones up via text, it just requires a little thought about tone and making what you say appropriate.
Comforting someone over text, while different from face-to-face interactions, can be just as heartfelt and effective.
In a world where digital communication is increasingly becoming the norm, mastering this skill is invaluable.
Remember, it’s the intent and the effort to provide solace that truly counts. Whether you’re using words, emojis, or gifs, let your heart guide your fingers.
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