Have you ever had to console a friend, family member, or acquaintance? If so, you’ve probably struggled to find the right words. You know that words have power, but you also know that words can’t fix all the problems of the world.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- ‘I’m Here for You’ Messages to a Friend
- ‘I’m Here for You’ Messages to a Family Member
- ‘I’m Here for You’ Messages for a Partner or Spouse
- ‘I’m Here for You’ Messages for an Acquaintance or Colleague
So what do you say when a friend is struggling? We’re here to help you come up with just the right phrase. Read on to learn 25 alternatives to the phrase, “I’m here for you.”
While there’s nothing wrong with this phrase, especially if it’s said with conviction, you may want to find a different way to express this sentiment.
Tip: Another way to be there for your friend when they're struggling through a loss is by lending practical support. Our post-loss checklist might be able to help you do just that.
‘I’m Here for You’ Messages to a Friend
Do you have a friend who lost someone she loves? While it is certainly advisable to buy your friend a sympathy gift, you also may consider letting your friend know that you’re available to do any tasks she needs completing.
Here are some ways to say, “I’m here for you,” to a good friend who is going through a rough time.
1. I’m here to listen.
Tell your friend that you’re happy to listen if they are struggling with a problem. Be aware that saying this phrase implies that you will listen without assigning judgment.
And you’ll listen without offering advice. This may be especially important if your friend is going through relationship problems.
2. I’m here to help.
Completing everyday tasks is difficult for people who are in crisis. If you have a friend who is struggling with depression or recently lost a parent, consider taking away some of his burdens by providing a meal or two for the family.
Offer to drive your friend’s kids to soccer practice. Or arrive at your friend’s house with the appropriate supplies to clean the bathrooms.
3. It’s okay to cry in front of me.
Some people work hard to hide their emotions. Let your friend know that he doesn’t have to do that in front of you. Let your friend know that they can cry while in your presence.
4. Tell me how you feel.
Even if your friend recently lost her mother, she may be feeling a wide variety of emotions that she needs to get off of her chest. She may feel anger or sorrow or guilt. Give your friend permission to express all she is feeling to you.
5. Even if you don’t want to talk now, call me any time, day or night.
Your friend may be in too much of a daze to take you up on your offer to help. Let your friend know that you will be available on his or her timeline.
6. You helped me when __________ . Let me help you with your problem now.
Perhaps your friend was there for you when you lost your husband. Now that your friend is suffering loss, you want to be able to assist her with anything she may need.
Some people are more likely to take you up on your offer to help if they realize that they are “returning the favor.”
7. I know you’re an independent person, but I really want to help you with this.
Your friend may not want to seem weak or needy. Perhaps your friend values independence and strength in others and does not want to admit to needing help.
If you acknowledge your friend’s strength, maybe they will be more likely to allow you to assist.
‘I’m Here for You’ Messages to a Family Member
If you have a family member in crisis, then you are in crisis. Tell your loved one that you’re there for them in one of these ways.
8. I’ll be right over.
Instead of saying, “I’m here for you,” to a family member who is struggling, physically go to that person.
Take the figurative statement and assign it a literal meaning. Even if you just sit with your family member in silence, your presence will probably be appreciated.
9. Give me a job.
Most of the time, we are able to speak more frankly to family members than we are to friends.
If your sibling underwent a traumatic event, they may be more likely to assign you specific tasks if you speak bluntly.
10. You’re not alone.
Your family member may have hundreds of thoughts racing through his head. He may be thinking about funeral planning, raising kids, paying bills, and taking care of work responsibilities.
He may be overwhelmed by not only the emotions behind a traumatic situation but also by the physical tasks that need to be done. Let your family member know that you’ll help take care of things.
11. You can survive this. I’ll be here to help you every step of the way.
Your family member may be feeling alone in her grief. Acknowledge this loneliness and fear and tell her that you will be there to help her through it.
12. I’m not going to leave or abandon you.
Your family member may be going through trying times that were caused by poor decisions. Reassure him that you’ll help him get through it, regardless of the situation.
13. We’ll get through this together.
If your family member feels as if someone has his back, he may find it easier to face a horrible situation. Tell your family member that you’ll get through the situation together, and say it with conviction.
14. I love you.
Your loved one may be so distraught that they are unable to understand what you’re saying. If this is the case, hold her hand and tell her that you love her.
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‘I’m Here for You’ Messages for a Partner or Spouse
You may think that you shouldn’t have to say, “I’m here for you,” to your spouse or partner.
Many times we think that the support should be a “given.” But your partner may need reassurance and help. Learn how to console your partner. They may be more dependent on you than you realize.
15. I know this is extremely difficult, but we will get through this.
You’re in a partnership with your spouse. Use words like “we” and “us” when talking about the future.
This will let your partner know that you’ll be around to see them through whatever tragedy they are facing.
16. I’m sorry you’re in so much pain. I am here to see you through it.
Acknowledge the pain of your loved one. Let your partner know that you genuinely see him.
He may be putting on a mask for others, so let him know that he doesn’t need to wear it in front of you.
17. I’m not going to leave you.
Depending on the situation, you may need to be this forthright with your partner. Reassure him or her that you’ll be there for the duration—no matter how difficult.
18. We are in this situation together.
Reassure your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife, that they aren’t going to be facing the struggle alone.
19. You are the most important person in my life.
How long has it been since you said this to your partner? Maybe your husband or wife needs to hear that right now.
20. What do you need right now?
Maybe he needs you to let him grieve privately. Perhaps she needs you to call the funeral home. Maybe he just needs to be held. Instead of trying to guess the needs of your partner, ask him or her.
21. Say nothing.
Instead of saying words, you may simply rub your wife’s shoulders or hold your husband’s hand.
Whether you express your emotions through a gentle squeeze or a kiss on the forehead, this may be all your partner needs to know that you’re there for them.
‘I’m Here for You’ Messages for an Acquaintance or Colleague
If your acquaintance or colleague is going through troubling times, you probably aren’t a first responder. You may not be the person they will turn to for immediate help. Instead of saying, “I’m here for you,” you may try to find something to say that sounds a little more authentic.
Instead, consider offering a simple and heartfelt message of condolences. Anything else may sound disingenuous.
22. I am so sorry you are going through this.
Don’t ignore the elephant in the room. If your colleague is going through a difficult time, acknowledge it. Trying to act as if nothing is amiss will seem insensitive.
23. Please accept my sympathies.
It is appropriate to go to the funeral of a family member of a coworker. If you’re struggling to know what to say, simply offer your sympathies.
24. Please know that I have been thinking about you during this heartbreaking time.
Perhaps it is too difficult to put into words what your coworker or acquaintance is going through. You may consider referring to the troubling situation as a “difficult time” instead of a “heartbreaking time.”
25. I’m so sorry for your loss. Please know that I am taking care of your monthly reports.
If you work with someone who is suffering, it may be appropriate to put your coworker’s mind at ease regarding the work that needs to be completed.
Instead of saying, “I’m here for you,” you may mention that you’re “taking care of everything at work.” Of course, you may not want to say this if your coworker may feel as if his or her job is threatened by you taking over some responsibilities.
Words Have Power
Think about the impact of your words. Telling your coworker “I’m sorry for your loss,” is different than saying that to your best friend. Your words need to match your intimacy level.
Words have power. Try to use them appropriately for the given situation.