Best Things to Say to Someone Who’s Depressed 68

Image: Day by Edward Robert Hughes

Day by Edward Robert Hughes

It is most tempting, when you find out someone is depressed, to attempt to immediately fix the problem. However, until the depressed person has given you permission to be their therapist (as a friend or professional), the following responses are more likely to help.

The things that didn’t make me feel worse are words which 1) acknowledge my depression for what it is (No ‘it’s just a phase’) 2) give me permission to feel depressed (No ‘but why should you be sad?’)

Here is the list from contributors to a.s.d.:

1. “I love you!”

2. “I Care”

3. “You’re not alone in this”

4. “I’m not going to leave/abandon you”

5. “Do you want a hug?”

6. “I love you (if you mean it).”

7. “It will pass, we can ride it out together.”

8. “When all this is over, I’ll still be here (if you mean it) and so will you.”

9. “Don’t say anything, just hold my hand and listen while I cry.”

10. “All I want to do know is give you a hug and a shoulder to cry on..”

11. “Hey, you’re not crazy!”

12. “May the strength of the past reflect in your future.”

13. “God does not play dice with the universe.” – A. Einstein

14. “A miracle is simply a do-it-yourself project.” – S. Leek

15. “We are not primarily on earth to see through one another, but to see one another through” – (from someone’s sig)

16. “If the human brain were simple enough to understand, we’d be too simple to understand it.” – a codeveloper of Prozac, quoted from “Listening to Prozac”

17. “You have so many extraordinary gifts–how can you expect to live an ordinary life?” – from the movie “Little Women” (Marmee to Jo)

18. “I understand your pain and I empathize”

19. “I’m sorry you’re in so much pain. I am not going to leave you. I am going to take care of myself so you don’t need to worry that your pain might hurt me.”

20. “I listen to you talk about it, and I can’t imagine what it’s like for you. I just can’t imagine how hard it must be.”

21. “I can’t really fully understand what you are feeling, but I can offer my compassion.”

22. “You are important to me.”

23. “If you need a friend….. (and mean it)”

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68 thoughts on “Best Things to Say to Someone Who’s Depressed

  • Patria

    What I meant to say was…

    I want to meet Skrillex. I’m 15 and he’s 28 but I have a crush on him. Seriously. I just wish he was my age again. He was born on January 15, 1988 and I was born on June 10, 2000. I am a 9th grader at East Junior High. I’m also a depressed person with autism, and I have to say, the reason why I’m depressed is because I live on 1722 Broxon Street, but me, my parents and sister are moving right out of the house and moving to a house that’s really close to my school.

  • Olivia

    Another good thing to do/say is to remind them that they have a right to do what they want, but also are encouraged to love themselves. Let me repeat- don’t tell anyone that they MUST be happy, but remind let them know that they’re allowed to.

    Also, things like “You don’t have to be alone through this; I care,” are good, because people want to hear that what they want is valid.

    Again, please don’t ever tell someone “don’t be sad.” Make sure they understand that their feelings are valid and important and (if you mean it) that you WILL be with them through it all, no matter what. Hope this helps ~

  • Austin T. Cain

    The most important things you can do.

    A: BE CONSTANT! Many people are depressed and have had loved one after loved one walk out on them because they can’t handle it. DON’T BE ANOTHER ONE ON THE LIST!

    B: SHUT UP ONCE IN A WHILE! Alow them a time to speak THEIR mind without your input or judgement.

    And C: TELL THEM YOU LOVE/CARE/ARE HERE FOR THEM OFTEN AND PROVE IT! Your words don’t mean shit unless you back them up with strong actions and prove to them that you’re there to stay. I say to tell them “often” because they do forget (not really that they forget, but more that they lose sight of the fact that you love and care about them). They figure you’re going to be like another one of the dozens of people in their life who turned their backs on them and never came back. So all you gotta do is prove them wrong and STAY.

  • Maxx

    I’m realizing just now… at 25 years old,
    I am suffering from daily self-doubt, Depression. I think it may also involve some PTSD that I’ve suffered.

    I feel like when my mom approaches me and asks me something… I automatically explode…It sets me offtune. And I later feel terrible. She is an amazing woman. But because she sees me as a failure, I tend to rebel on her kindness… I’ve told her to please read on how to speak to people with depression…she tries, I think. but I don’t feel like its genuine. I think she feels like I need to ” just get over it” and that’s what hurts me the most 🙁

    I need to seek further councelling ~

  • Tina

    I’m at a loss with my daughter, proberly because it hurts so much to see her like that, I’m a depression survivor so I do know how dark it can be….
    But she asked with venom “how long do I have to put up with this s***” all I could tell her was “as long as it takes love” 🙁
    And now I’m on the receiving end of the anger and frustrations, and saying all the wrong things 🙁 but I will still be here for as long as it takes. Along with her wonderful, suffering girlfriend.

  • Minnie

    My son has finally told us he had been feeling this way for years and has been keeping it all inside….worries about everything ….

  • Darling

    I agree with a lot of these statements and they are uplifting in a lot of ways.

    Here are the ones that gave me anxiety and made me more depressed reading:

    13: as much as I love Albert Einstein God and his many quotes it just made me sadder. It’s like saying to someone you were meant to be depressed. If maybe you explained that maybe this will make you a stronger person that’d be better

    14: depressed people are overwhelmed. I wouldn’t say the words do it yourself project unless you were trying to invite them to a pottery class.

    18. It contradicts 20 and I like 20 way better.

    Other than that I agree with everything :). Reading other people’s comments I have a few other suggestions.
    -don’t talk about God even if the person is religious. Just don’t. It will cause confusion and anxiety to some
    -I love this person who said when they’re depressed they crash and nothing helps I GET YOU. It’s true. Sometimes just being there and waiting with them for the storm to pass can help to. Space can be important but not too much space.
    – That’s why if you want to say something be careful. If you can tell them they can call any time and listen and follow the list except for the ones I discluded and I feel like you’d be alright for a moderately depressed person.
    -if someone doesn’t accept a hug don’t take it personally.
    Will think of more later

  • Iskauris Taveras

    i have a girlfriend that i have been dating for 7 months now.. she has been dealing with depression and i really dont know what to say.. yesterday we are talking and she was opening up to me on how she was feeling, she was telling me she hasnt been feeling like she should be living anymore she thinks noone loves her or care for her. i love her i try to show her my affection by bringing her lunch when she asks asking her how she feels, asking her why she feels this way i ask her what should i do to help her or what does she want to hear from me.. like i love you or how beautiful she looks today. ive myself been depressed but i always found a way to leave that feeling behind i tried to tell her to do something she likes most to stop thinking about the negative in her life and start thinking about ALL the positive she has done, i dont know if these are the rigth words but im hoping they are if anyone can please respond to me so i can make sure im being the support system she does need or if i am wording my words the wrong way.. thank you for this page the words on here are the ones im going to try and use for her for now on so she feels the love i have for her or feels that she can come to me ANYTIME with no embarrasment.. even though sometimes shes so hostile with me and she gets so so so so so so so upset with me when my words arent the ones she wants to hear but i try not to take it personal.. thank you again !

  • Ben

    These are actually wrong, if any of these phrases cheer you up, you’re sad, not depressed, depression can’t be treated with affirmations, and treating them like they’re sick or vulnerable will only push them away or cause them to commit suicide, if they are truly in depression the best thing you can do is treat them normal and try to take them out.

  • Daniel

    If u have a girlfriend or wife who is depressed you should tell them this “Every time I look at you I feel like my heart is fixed I feel wanted just like I want you I love you with ally heart and will always my life may not be worth living but if I could give up my life to make you happy I will no matter what I will always whant you to be happy I love you that’s all you need from me is my love that’s it you don’t need money fancy jewelry or cloths to make you happy you need you to make you happy I’m here to help you o make you happy

  • Monae

    With my boyfriend and I both fighting depression, we usually know what to do. Though I still look up ways to make him feel better. I know when I’m depressed he wont leave me alone. He stays by my side and constantly tells me he loves me and cares for me. Every time I say that I’m sorry for being a burden on him he reasures me I’m not and that when agreeing to date me, these little sad moments and rough moments was part of the “contract”. When I’m crying he says, “Precious, Precious, Precious, please don’t cry. I’m here for you. Look, see. Please don’t cry, my love.”
    And this is all over Skype. Yep, we don’t get to see each other in person. Just over camera. It shows that even over camera, ooVoo, or Skype you can still be there to help your love with his struggles with sadness.

  • Mayra

    The best thing that helped me overcome my depression was my best friend. Whenever I was on the verge of a mental breakdown she’s immediately notice and start to comfort me by hugging and telling me that everything was going to be okay and for that long time in her warm, familiar embrace….it did.

  • Robert Clarke

    Thank you for writing such true and powerful words. I’ve been fighting depression for about 25 years, I’ve tried the pills, talks, mindfulness, meditation, numerous things. I even have strong suicidal thoughts. I’ve searched the internet, read countless books, but nothing helped. I read this and it is just that simple, a hug or kind word. I’ve been telling my wife and doctors this for years. when I read your log I was bought to tears, because it really is that simple. I love it when my wife hugs me or even just a gentle touch. When my 13 year old Daughter says are you OK daddy, it fills my heart to the point of exploding with joy. My two sons when they play their musical instruments, or pass a milestone in their lives, just fills me. A hug from a good friend or even a stranger gets the job done. Thank you again for these words, it’s nice to know there is at least one other person on this planet that makes this connection. I hope this sight is still active.

  • Jonathan

    Just looking at this list may be cry remembering when the first person I told said these things to me. I am really grateful that someone was there for me who cared as much as they did.

  • Tzfardaya

    I can’t, and won’t speak for anyone else… But when I crash, saying anything to me is wrong… I see words as empty, hollow things used to fake and emulate feelings. Show me you care, in my darkest hours what I need is physical contact, a hug, a touch, simple physical reassurances that I am not alone.

  • cv writing

    Well I think it’s not depression but failure that turns us into such
    state. We have to think daily about what is it that makes us happy and
    creative and enjoy our lives:)