How To Comfort Someone Over Text

Tattooed woman lying in bed and texting Sorry with a sad emoji

Our mobile phones have drastically changed the way we communicate with each other. We’ve gone from letter writing as an art form, to email correspondence, and now, text messages. Most of our communication nowadays happens via text message according to cell phone data statistics. We text more than we call and for most people, texting is considered an acceptable form of communication. But how to comfort someone over text is a little bit trickier. There are certain situations where a text doesn’t seem sufficient. Texting can be more difficult to get your point across. A lot of nuances are lost in texting that you can only provide face-to-face or through voice calls. But sometimes, a text is the best we can do when a phone call isn’t possible. How to comfort someone over text is useful knowledge to have in such situations.

Call Before You Text

While you should know how to comfort someone over text, try a phone call first. A phone call is more personal and direct. It takes more effort to call someone up and spend time talking with them. A text message can be seen as less personable. It doesn’t take much to send someone a text message and forget about it all day. Text messages give you the opportunity to respond on your time. A phone call sends a message that you are carving time out of your day to speak with someone personally. Additionally, speaking in person or over the phone allows you to pick up on nuances in someone’s voice. Anyone can say anything over text. Someone may say they’re fine and pretend to be okay over text. But if you talk to them on the phone, you can pick up on the distress in their voice. Phone calls are a better way to comfort someone if you can. If not (we see you, introverts), knowing how to comfort someone over text is better than nothing.

young man with a cell phone to his ear

How To Comfort Someone Over Text

Don’t Hesitate

How to comfort someone over text when you don’t know what to say? Are you unsure if a text message is sufficient? Text them anyway. You may be hesitant to send a text to your grieving or upset friend for fear of saying the wrong thing. Or maybe you feel strange sending an impersonal text message when they are going through something so deeply personal. Send a text anyway. It’s better to reach out to someone through a text message than not to reach out at all. People will remember who was there for them during their hard times. They’ll also remember who wasn’t. Knowing how to comfort someone over text to let them know you’re thinking of them is better than nothing at all. It could be the only thing that puts a smile on their face all day.

black and white graphic of a text bubble with 3 dots, showing hesitation

Stay Honest

If knowing how to comfort someone over text is difficult for you, be honest about it. It’s okay if you are not a whiz with words. Not everyone’s a poet or knows the right words to say in every situation. If you’re unsure of what to text your friend, tell them. Let them know that you don’t have the right words but are still thinking of them. Your friend won’t expect you to have all the answers. Likely, no matter what you say will make much of a difference in solving their problems. You're grieving or upset friend will find comfort in simply knowing you care enough to reach out. You don’t have to know exactly how to comfort someone over text as long as you text them something. A friendly "thinking of you" text could be exactly what they need.

Know What Not To Say

In knowing how to comfort someone over text, know what not to say. Avoid using phrases like, “everything happens for a reason” or “there’s plenty of fish in the sea.” Don’t bring up politics or religion, especially if you are unsure of where they stand on either subject. Someone who’s upset doesn’t want cliché or meaningless jargon pushed upon them in their time of hurt. They’ve likely heard many of the same phrases or jargon elsewhere and don’t need to hear it from you. Avoid adopting any “told you so” attitude, even if they are in the wrong. While there’s a time and place to give your friend a healthy reality check, it’s not when they’re upset. Know how to comfort someone over text by not saying something that will upset them more. Don't be a douche, essentially.

Let Them Know You Understand

Let your friend know that you understand what they are going through. Or, at the least, can sympathize with them. Maybe you haven’t gone through the exact situation they have, but you can understand their pain. Know how to comfort someone over text by letting your friend know you understand where they’re coming from. It can be useful to relay some of your own difficult experiences. There is comfort in knowing other people have survived similar bad situations like the ones we’re experiencing. You may be able to offer insight that others can’t. Allow yourself to be vulnerable with them and let them know what they need to hear. Sometimes being honest with them is what they need to hear. Don’t sugarcoat the pain they are experiencing. If you went through something similar, tell them how hard it was for you. Let them know what to expect, but then remind them that you got through it. You were able to get through the pain and come out on the other end. Know how to comfort someone over text by being understanding of their circumstances.

Young woman sitting on a windowsill at home and texting

Make It About Them

Learn how to comfort someone over text by making the conversation about them. You are texting your friend to talk about them, not your life. Don’t pester them with unsolicited advice (you can keep your two cents, thank you). Right now, it’s all about how they’re feeling and what you can do for them. While it can be useful to bring up your own similar experience to let them know you understand, don’t focus on yourself or anyone else. Yes, there are plenty of people who have gone through what your friend has, even worse but don’t mention that to your friend. Now is not the time to tell them how fortunate they are that their situation isn’t worse (please, please don't do that!). Things can always be worse but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be upset.

Avoid Emojis (Unless Appropriate)

Knowing how to comfort someone over text may or may not include emojis. Emojis are a fun and cute way to text someone. They add a little extra something to a text message and can sometimes help better convey emotion. For example, writing a joke over a text message can be better understood by sending a smiley face or silly face. The reader will understand that the message you sent was meant to be funny instead of literal. But when someone is deeply upset, emojis don’t go over as well. Know how to comfort someone over text by knowing when the use of emojis is appropriate. A sad smiley face might be okay to respond to a friend who tells you they have a cold. But if they tell you they just lost one of their parents, a sad smiley won’t cut it. Emojis should not be used in place of a written message.

African american person holding a tactile mobile smartphone sending text messages with lots of emoji

Offer Your Support

When a friend is having a bad day or going through a difficult time, they will appreciate any support they can get. Knowing how to comfort someone over text lets your friend know they have your support. Let them know you’re there for them, even if emotional support is all you can offer. Actions speak louder than words. It’s one thing to text someone a commonplace “Let me know if there’s anything I can do” text, and another thing to offer exactly what you can do. Send them a text letting them know you are here if they need to talk. Or offer to take them to lunch and talk in person. If they need help with daily chores or tasks, let them know you can drop the kids off at school, bring them a home-cooked meal, or pick up the dry cleaning. Knowing how to comfort someone over text involves being as personable as you can. Again, it’s one thing to text your support and quite another to show it. If you want to show your support for your friend, let them know exactly how you can support them. Honestly, having a meal delivered that they didn't have to cook is one less thing they have to worry about. That's worth more than any "need anything?" text.

Offer Your Condolences

When a friend or family member experiences a loss, a text message will hardly feel sufficient. But in some cases, a text message is the only way to reach them. Knowing how to comfort someone over text is so important in this situation. The death of a loved one can send someone spiraling into depression. It’s common for a grieving person to isolate themselves or not feel up to talking. In such cases, knowing how to comfort someone over text can be useful. If they won’t answer your calls, they may read your text. A text may be the only way you can get through to someone when they’re grieving. Offering your condolences through text is better than not saying anything at all. Send your friend or family member a sweet text expressing your deepest sympathy for their situation. If you are good with words, a long, heartfelt message will be appreciated but a short, meaningful message will work as well. It’s better to keep your text message simple rather than exaggerating your words. That can come off as disingenuous. Though offering your condolences in person is ideal, knowing how to comfort someone over text is just as impactful.

Follow Up

How to comfort someone over text doesn’t stop after the first text message is sent. Make sure to follow up with your friend after the initial conversation has started. It takes nothing to text a few kind words every so often to let someone know you’re thinking of them. It lets the receiver know that they are in your thoughts. You will show someone that you genuinely care. Make a point to reach out to your friend on a regular basis, especially if they are struggling with their mental health. When a friend is having a rough time, it’s unlikely their situation will be solved in a day. Following up with them over text will let them know they’re not alone in their struggle and that you haven't forgotten about them.

Examples of How To Comfort Someone Over Text

How To Comfort Someone Over Text After a Death

Comforting someone after a death is tricky. Death is a very sensitive subject, and you don’t want to risk saying the wrong thing. Keep your text short and meaningful by offering your condolences while acknowledging their pain. Nothing you can say right now will fill the hole in their heart from their loss. A simple but meaningful text message lets someone know you are thinking of them and understand they are grieving.

Examples

  • “I’m so sorry for your loss. I know (person’s name) meant a lot to you. This must be an incredibly painful time for you.”

  • “My dear friend, I have no words to express my sadness for you. I am here if you need to talk.”

  • “I’m so sorry for what you are going through. (Person’s name) was so special and loved you so much.”

  • “I just heard about your loss and wanted to express my deepest sympathies. I can come over tomorrow after work if you need to talk. I am here for you whenever.”

Portrait of worried guy holding cellphone at home

How To Comfort Someone Over Text After a Breakup

Relationships are complicated. Comforting someone who’s just been through a breakup can be just as complicated. Knowing how to comfort someone over text after a breakup takes tact. As a friend or family member, it’s best to take your own emotions out of the situation. You may have strong opinions about your friend’s ex-significant other. You may even be grateful that the relationship is over and see their breakup as a positive. But don’t let your friend know that. Whether their ex-lover was a crap person or not, your friend is still hurting. Now is not the time to say, “I told you so!” or bash their ex's very existence. Show them your support in their time of need by being there for them. Leave judgment out of it (even if it's oh so difficult).

Examples

  • “I just heard about you and (person’s name). I am so sorry. Can I take you to lunch so we can talk about it?”

  • “I know you’re hurting right now, and it will hurt for some time. But every day will get easier. You will be okay again one day.”

  • “I’m so sorry this is happening. What can I do to help you through this?”

  • “Want to get together for a drinking/crying session? I’m all ears.”

How To Comfort Someone Over Text When They’re Having a Bad Day

When your friend is having a bad day, they’re looking for an excuse not to throw in the towel. Knowing how to comfort someone over text can cheer them up. Whether it’s because they’re stressed out from work, having relationship problems, or feeling down in the dumps, a text message from you can make them feel less alone. Text your friend something that you know will cheer them up. Maybe that’s mentioning an inside joke between you two or sending them a funny GIF. You should definitely send them cute cat videos or a video of you doing something silly. You’d be surprised how simple things can put a smile on someone’s face and brighten their mood. A few kind words will do the trick too.

Examples

  • “Dude, I’m sorry work sucks right now. If you need to vent about how shitty your boss and co-workers are, I’m available. You know how I love spilling tea.”

  • “Ugh, I’m sorry you’re going through this. But know that you’re not the first to experience this. Life is tough sometimes but you’re the strongest person I know. You’re going to be okay!”

  • “Man, I’m sorry that does sound embarrassing! But not as embarrassing as the time I (insert your own embarrassing story).”

  • “No, you’re not a failure! One failure doesn’t define who you are. Look how far you’ve come already? You will come out of this more successful than before.”

Serious-looking black girl using smartphone at cafe

How To Comfort Someone Over Text Who’s Struggling With Mental Health

If your friend is struggling with their mental health, check in with them often. Offer your emotional support in any way you can. It’s important that your friend knows you’re there for them and don’t have to suffer alone. Knowing how to comfort someone over text can help a depressed friend feel less lonely. But also consider referring them to a mental health specialist or counselor. People in a fragile mental health state could be a risk to themselves. If you think your friend needs professional help, don’t hesitate to get them help.

Examples

  • “Hey, you haven’t seemed yourself lately. Is something bothering you?”

  • “I love you and want the best for you. It hurts me to see you hurting. I’ve found someone you may be interested in talking to. Sending you their professional info now.”

  • “Hey, I know you’re feeling alone right now. But I wanted to remind you that you’re not. You have people who love and care about you. We’re here for you no matter what.”

The Takeaway

Knowing how to comfort someone over text requires a little thought and tact. Take your time writing your text message before you send it. Because you can’t detect nuances through text, your message might not come across as intended. When in doubt, keep your texts short and meaningful. A short text message letting someone know you’re thinking of them is better than sending no message at all. Knowing how to comfort someone over text is something we may all find useful one day. You never know when a simple message could be the turn-around that someone needs to start feeling better.

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