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7 Comforting Things to Say When Someone is Having a Bad Day

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Have you ever found yourself at a loss for words when someone close to you is having a bad day? Well, you’re not alone because I’ve been on both sides. Take for example yesterday when I had a horrible day at work. I’ve had bad days before but this day turned out to be one of the worst. Fortunately, my husband knew exactly how to comfort me. But it’s not always easy to know what to say or how to offer support in those moments. I’ve got good news for you though. I’m going to share the incredible power of seven surprising phrases that can turn someone’s bad day around. These unexpected words of comfort, encouragement, and support have the potential to make a world of difference to your loved ones when they need it most. Not only will they feel heard and validated, but it will also help uplift their spirits and provide a sense of comfort. You’ll feel empowered and know exactly what to say when someone is having a bad day!

What to say when someone is having a bad day

First of all, I want to acknowledge that it’s okay if you feel shocked or numb when someone discloses something to you.

As a licensed clinical social worker I have heard some of the most traumatic and harrowing stories of abuse, neglect, and suffering.

what to say when someone is having a bad day

The most important tool you have is to simply listen without judgment. It is not about you, even if you do feel uncomfortable and distressed.

Honestly simply being there to listen and provide a safe space is enough when someone is having a bad day.

1. Acknowledge their feelings

One of the most important things you can do when someone is having a bad day is to simply acknowledge their feelings.

It might seem obvious, but sometimes we can get caught up in trying to fix the problem or find a solution that we forget to validate the emotions the person is experiencing.

Start by letting them know that it’s okay to feel upset or frustrated.

Sometimes people just need to vent and have their emotions acknowledged without judgment.

You can say something like, “I can see that you’re really upset right now, and I want you to know that it’s completely valid to feel that way.”

Or you can say “That really sucks and you have every right to be upset.”

Pantea Rahimian, LCSW

When you acknowledge someone’s feelings, you let them know that they are not alone. You show that you care and that their emotions are important to you.

That simple act of validation brings an immense amount of relief and comfort to someone who is upset.

Be present and actively listen

I get it, you’re busy and you have a million things on your mind. It’s easy to get distracted when someone is talking to you, isn’t it?

But when someone is having a bad day, it’s crucial to be present and actively listen to what they have to say.

what to say when someone is having a bad day

Have you ever noticed how you feel someone someone gives you their undivided attention? Like everything you say is being heard and acknowledged? Doesn’t that feel great?

Well, this is what you need to do.

Give your friend, colleague, family member, or whoever needs your full attention. Show them that you’re there for them and that you genuinely want to understand their perspective.

Don’t interrupt them or offer advice.

Just listen.

Let them express themselves fully and without judgment.

Nod your head, make eye contact, and use verbal cues like “I understand” or “That must be really tough” to show that you’re actively engaged in the conversation.

Pantea Rahimian, LCSW

If you find your mind wandering or trying to find a solution, stop and practice being mindful.

Offer reassurance and understanding

It’s also important to offer reassurance and understanding.

Let your loved one know that you’re there for them and that you believe in their ability to overcome whatever challenges they’re facing.

You can say something like, “I know things are tough right now, but I believe in your strength and resilience. You’ve overcome difficult situations before, and I have no doubt that you’ll get through this as well.”

Pantea Rahimian, LCSW

Offering this kind of support can help boost their confidence and remind them that they’re not alone.

Avoid minimizing, judging, or comparing

Finally, avoid minimizing, judgment, criticism, or offering unsolicited advice.

Perhaps you think you know exactly what they should do or you even think that they’re overreacting.

Don’t say what’s on your mind.

Instead, provide a safe space for your loved one to express their emotions.

In doing so, you’re validating their feelings and letting them know that you’re there for them, no matter how big or small their problems may seem

2. Offer empathy and understanding

Have you ever talked to someone and you walk away feeling significantly better?

Becoming more empathetic can help you know what to say when someone is having a bad day.

In short, empathy is understanding someone else’s experience so much that you can imagine having their experience yourself.

Another way to think about it is that you actually put yourself in their shoes and understand their perspective.

When someone’s having a bad day or feeling emotional, you can try to understand their feelings by recognizing in yourself a time when you felt similarly.

Rather than talking about yourself, you can remember that sensation and realize how painful it must be for that person.

You can say something like “I honestly don’t know how hard this must be but I’m just glad you shared this with me. I’m here with you.”

Pantea Rahimian, LCSW

By being empathic, you show that you understand someone’s feelings and emotions.

Moreover, you are making it clear that their experiences and concerns matter to you and that you genuinely care about their well-being.

Remember, your kindness and compassion can go a long way in brightening someone’s mood and reminding them that they are not alone in their struggles.

3. Focus on the positive

In addition to offering empathy and understanding, it can also be beneficial to shift the focus towards highlighting the positive aspects of the situation.

Being positive is NOT the same as minimizing or validating the experience.

It’s also NOT trying to silverline the situation.

Instead, if you’re curious about what to say when someone is having a bad day, you can help remind them of the positive elements of their life.

Take for example my friend who just lost her job.

Although she’s upset that she’s unemployed, I helped remind her that she hated her manager and the commute. In addition, I shared with her that she qualifies for unemployment and can take her time to find a job better suited for her.

When someone is having a bad day or experiencing a lot of stress you can do the following:

  • Acknowledge their strengths and accomplishments
  • Remind them of the support systems
  • Show them that they possess resilience
  • Help identify the internal resources necessary to overcome their challenges

One way to approach this is by sharing stories or anecdotes that highlight their past successes and how they have overcome adversity in the past.

Reminding them of the times they have triumphed can ignite a sense of hope and encourage them to tap into their inner strength once again.

Moreover, emphasizing the positive aspects of their current situation, no matter how small can help shift their mindset from dwelling on the negative to recognizing the opportunities for growth and improvement.

4. Provide practical help

By focusing on the positive, you can seamlessly transition into providing practical help.

Whether it’s offering suggestions, and resources, or simply lending a helping hand, your positive approach sets the stage for a constructive conversation about how to move forward and navigate their bad day.

One way to provide practical help is by offering specific suggestions on how to improve their current situation.

A woman preparing a fruit salad in a kitchen

This can involve practical actions they can take to address the issues at hand or recommendations for resources that may be useful in finding solutions.

For example, one way I help my colleagues who are having a bad day due to work-related stress is to suggest that we take a break together.

We go on a walk and I let them know that I’m there to listen. More often than not, the simple act of walking together and talking helps alleviate the stress they’re experiencing.

Just remember that you don’t always have to provide practical help.

Sometimes, all someone needs is a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on.

Honestly, letting your loved one know that you’re available to talk helps them know that you’re part of their support system and they are not alone during their difficult times.

Furthermore, you can offer to assist them with specific tasks or responsibilities that may be adding to their stress.

Other times when you notice that someone is overwhelmed and needs help, you can offer to help with practice tasks. For example, you can help with household chores, running errands, or even offer to take on some of their workload temporarily.

Pantea Rahimian

Take control. Feel better.

Start your Self-care Journey.

Take control.
Feel better.

Start your
Self-care Journey.

By taking some of the burdens off their shoulders, you show them that they are not alone and that you are willing to actively contribute to their well-being.

When you actively listen and offer to help, you show that you genuinely care and support them.

In addition, you help remind them of their strengths and the tools that they have to tackle their bad day.

5. Remind them of their strengths

One thing I recently noticed about myself is that when I feel overwhelmed, I’m flooded with negative thoughts and emotions.

I forget my own capabilities and lose sight of my inner strength and resources.

This is true for all of us especially when we’re under a lot of pressure.

One of the best ways to help someone when they’re having a bad day is to step in and provide a gentle reminder.

  • Remind them of their strengths by highlighting their past accomplishments
  • Recall a time when they faced adversity and came out on top
  • Indicate the skills and qualities they possess have helped them succeed
  • Acknowledge past victories to show their ability to overcome their current difficulties
  • Mention their positive qualities and characteristics
  • Point out their resilience, determination, or creativity

By focusing on their strengths, you help shift their perspective from the negative aspects of their day to the positive attributes they possess.

Furthermore, you can encourage them to reflect on their own accomplishments and talents. Ask them to think about what they are proud of and what they excel at.

what to say when someone is having a bad day

By prompting them to recognize their own abilities, you empower them to regain confidence in themselves and their capabilities.

Reminding someone of their strengths not only helps them regain perspective and confidence but also reinforces their self-belief.

It serves as a powerful tool for overcoming the challenges they are currently facing and encourages them to approach their bad day with a positive mindset.

7 simple phrases to comfort someone who is having a bad

Here’s my cheat sheet for you since the power of words is significant when you’re unsure what to say when someone is having a bad day.

  • Word #1: “I’m here for you”
  • Word #2: “I understand how you feel”
  • Word #3: “You are not alone”
  • Word #4: “Take your time”
  • Word #5: “I believe in you”
  • Word #6: “Let’s find a solution together”
  • Word #7: “You are strong and resilient”

Just remember that being empathetic, holding space, and saying comforting words does make a difference.


When someone you care about is having a bad day, finding the right words to comfort them can make all the difference.

Empathy and understanding can go a long way in providing much-needed support.

In this article, we have compiled a list of 7 empathetic and comforting words to say to someone who is having a bad day.

These words are not only meant to make them feel heard and validated, but also to help uplift their spirits and provide a sense of comfort.

Sometimes, a simple “I’m here for you” can be enough to let someone know that they are not alone in their struggle.

Other times, offering words of encouragement like “You’re stronger than you think” can empower them to push through the challenges they are facing.

By incorporating these phrases into your conversations, you can become a source of comfort and support for your loved ones during their tough times. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or colleague, expressing empathy is a powerful way to show that you care.

So, the next time someone in your life is feeling down, try using these comforting words to make a positive impact on their day.

Have you ever not known what to say when someone is having a bad day? Did you ever put your foot in your mouth and say the wrong thing? What are helpful phrases to use when you’re trying to comfort someone who is feeling overwhelmed? Please share your stories and comments below.

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Pantea Rahimian

Take control. Feel better.

Start your Self-care Journey.

Take control.
Feel better.

Start your
Self-care Journey.


21 Responses

  1. Pointing out their strengths is super powerful I think, but I also think that sometimes it is just about holding space for the other person. Thanks so much for all these great ideas.

    1. Hi Nicolle I completely agree with you that holding space for someone can actually be the only thing that the other person may need to feel better. We don’t always need to have a solution or try to “fix it” but rather being there as a safe person can provide a great deal of healing and support.

  2. These are some great tips on how to help people who are having a bad day. I just had a friend who was going through a major situation. I listen and did not judge her. I practiced some of your suggestions.

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Pantea Rahimian

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