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7 Ways to Console Someone Going Through a Hard Time

7 Ways to Console Someone Going Through a Hard Time

From Caring Bridge Staff | 06.23.23

Knowing how to console someone going through loss or hardship is always a

challenge. You certainly don’t want to say the wrong thing, but saying

nothing could be just as hurtful.

We asked the CaringBridge community for helpful words and ideas to share

with someone in need of some consoling.

1. Be There for Them

We show up for the people we care about. Being there for someone can

mean a lot of things, but most importantly: make sure you remain present

throughout (and after) their crisis.

If they’re in the hospital, make sure to visit. Pick up the phone and give

them a call, just because. Show up in the ways you know you’d need it, if

you were in their place.

“I’m here for you” is a good place to start.

Diane Hollister

“I am always here for you. Stay positive. I will pray for you. Stay strong.”

Kitty Courts

“Just letting them know, you are there anytime day or night.”

Patty Smith

2. Tell Them (and Show) That You Love Them

Those three little words, “I love you,” can make a bigger impact than you

know. During a difficult time, your family member or friend needs all the

love they can get.

Beyond expressing your love with words, your actions can speak volumes as

well. Offer to help out around the house, start a fundraiser, or give a

thoughtful gift. It’s important to consider something practical that they

would find useful or reminds them of a more positive time in their lives.

Here are some more ideas to show someone you love them.

3. Let Them Know You’re Thinking of Them

Letting your loved one know they’re on your mind or in your prayers is a

thoughtful gesture for someone who needs some consolation. If your loved

one is okay with it and would appreciate this gesture, consider starting a

prayer chain for them. It can be a powerful symbol of the support all around


4. Take Time to Listen

Showing up for someone is more than just what you say: it’s how well you

listen. When your loved one is going through a difficult time, they may just

need someone to ask them how they are really doing, and give them their

full attention.

Letting them talk through what’s going on can be incredibly healing – and all

you need to offer is an ear to listen.

“They just need you talk to them like a good friend. Ask them how they’re

doing and taking time to listen is what they need most.”

Sharon Gray

“More importantly, make sure you listen to them – for a month, a year, ten

years – however long it takes.”

Sally Killean Comparetto

“Sometimes just the quiet time you spend with others is so important. Listen

to them, don’t ask how are then walk away. Saying I love you and giving

them a hug is one of the most important things you can do. If the covid

pandemic has taught us only one thing. It is, you never know how long we

will be here so take the time to reach out to our friends and family today not


Corrine M.

5. A Hug Can Speak Volumes

Hugs can make your loved one feel supported and cared for during a

challenging time. There are actually scientific reasons behind this. Hugs can

increase your oxytocin, which is a chemical associated with happiness and

less stress.

Provided you feel comfortable enough to do so, open your arms wide and

give your loved one a warm embrace. It might be just the thing they need to

feel consoled.

“Just be there with hugs and say, I’m so sorry!”

Tommie Lois Thompson

“When someone is consumed by grief, worry, fear, physically speaking may

seem impossible. Your throat swells shut and breathing is difficult. Just be

there to sit with them or hold a hand. Don’t expect them to be able to

verbalize their feelings, wants or needs. Be there, put your arm around

them, rub their back – these gestures can help them work through that

moment in a bigger way than talking.”


6. Share Memories

If your friend or family member has lost a loved one, sharing stories of

happier times can be truly heart-warming. They can cherish those memories


“When I lost my son the one thing that comforted me was knowing that

people could share stories about him with me.  It has been 3 years and 10

months and I can still replay those stories in my mind – knowing how much

he meant to others brings warm memories to me.”

Lynn Contino

“Share stories and not just at the funeral home. If you remember something

later, find a way to share.”

Stacey Naylor-Fancelli

7. Continue Offering Support

Oftentimes, a person needs the most support in the weeks and months after

a distressing event. It’s important that no matter what you do to comfort

your loved one, you continue showing up for them.

Start a CaringBridge Site

When you’re going through a health journey, you have a lot on your

plate. CaringBridge replaces the time-consuming task of sharing your health

news over and over. It’s a free, easy to use online journal for sharing health

information with your family and friends

Rabbi Phil Posner, CaringBridge


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