Things to say and not to say to a sad person

« Sometimes, a few words are enough to bring back hope. »

If someone important to you is suffering from severe sadness or depression, one of the best things you can do is to show him or her that you care and that you’re ready to help. What a sad person needs most is compassion and understanding. Not only must you listen well, but you must also know what to say and not say:

Things to say to a sad person:

  1. Never believe you’re all alone to deal with this situation.
  2. If you need to talk, I’m here to listen at any hour and in complete confidentiality.
  3. Tell me what I can do for you now, today or in the coming days.
  4. I love you unconditionally, no matter what you say or do.
  5. I will never let you down.
  6. Your thoughts and feelings are important to me. If you agree, I would like to know more about them.
  7. I can’t really understand your pain, but I can offer you my support.
  8. You will not always be like this, we will find a way to make you feel better.
  9. Many people are depressed. And many have won their battle against this sickness with time and support from their loved ones.
  10. You are not going crazy.
  11. Your current problem will be behind you sooner or later. And you will see that there will be brighter days ahead.
  12. There is a solution, although it may be hard to see now.
  13. Having negative thoughts does not make you a bad person.
  14. When we are sad, we tend to be too sensitive and responsive to negative events and situations.
  15. When we are sad, we tend to overlook or ignore positive elements, for example… (add your own examples here).
  16. I want to do something with you, I have a few ideas. But is there an activity that you would enjoy today?
  17. Give loved one hope in him or her finding a project, aspiration or a dream that will reduce his/her sadness.
  18. Encourage the person with words of support, compliments and reminding them what they have done in the past.

Note: say those things only if you mean it.

What not to say to a sad person:

  1. You do not seem to be doing well, you look bad.
  2. So you’re depressed. Aren’t you always?
  3. Believe me, I know how you feel. I was depressed once for several days.
  4. I do not recognize you.
  5. Don’t worry, be happy,
  6. Why can’t you just be happy for once?
  7. Will you ever stop being like this?
  8. Your attitude is getting annoying.
  9. Lighten up
  10. Aren’t you tired of always being sad?
  11. There are people in much worse situations than you, and they are not depressed.
  12. I’m disappointed in you.
  13. You have everything to be happy, why aren’t you?
  14. Happiness is simply a choice that you are not making.
  15. You do not seem to have enough will.
  16. We are the result of our thoughts. So change your thoughts.
  17. I’m sad too once in a while, but I do not make a fuss like you.
  18. Your problem is that you’re too lazy.
  19. Your problem is simply that you isolate yourself from everything and everyone.
  20. Stop acting stupidly.
  21. Try not to be sad.
  22. You are solely responsible for your emotions, snap out of it.
  23. Nobody said that life was fair.
  24. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
  25. You should start to feel better after all this time?
  26. I think your sadness crisis is a way to punish us or to attract attention.
  27. You’re so selfish, you only think about yourself.
  28. I thought you were stronger than that.
  29. Why aren’t you more mature?
  30. Why aren’t you normal?

Be aware that your loved one may not be honest about his condition. Many depressed people are ashamed of themselves and lie about the severity of their condition. Therefore, if you ask your him or her « how are you ? »And the answer is simply « good ». Do not assume that it is true.

Conclusion: stay in contact:
Make a point of being in touch with your loved one as often as you can without overwhelming him or her. Write encouraging emails, cards or letters. Visit and call regularly. This is the best way to show that you care and that you will stick with him or her as long as it takes.

« Underneath the shell of every sad person,
there is someone who needs a helping hand. »

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