The phrase “it’s going to be okay” can be tricky to use, no matter your intent. Even though you may be looking for alternative ways to say, “it’s going to be okay,” be careful when and how you use that specific statement. Someone who recently lost a child may not want to hear this phrase of reassurance. Someone who received a diagnosis for an untreatable form of cancer may not want to hear this either.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Is It Okay to Say ‘It’s Going to Be Okay?’
- Alternative to ‘It’s Going to Be Okay’ to Say After a Death or Tragic Loss
- Alternative to ‘It’s Going to Be Okay’ When Someone’s Sick
- Alternative to ‘It’s Going to Be Okay’ During Coronavirus or Another Pandemic
- Alternative to ‘It’s Going to Be Okay’ During Another Stressful Time
- Alternative ‘It’s Going to Be Okay’ Messages for a Family Member
- Alternative ‘It’s Going to Be Okay’ Messages for a Friend
- Alternative ‘It’s Going to Be Okay’ Messages for a Spouse or Partner
- Alternative ‘It’s Going to Be Okay’ Messages for a Client, Coworker, or Boss
While it is nice to offer positive get well wishes and reassurances to a friend who is going through a hard time, be careful with the phrase “it’s going to be okay.” Here are some alternatives to consider that may not offer false reassurances to a friend.
Is It Okay to Say ‘It’s Going to Be Okay?’
It’s challenging to define a time when it is acceptable to say “it’s going to be okay” to an acquaintance, friend, or family member. Perhaps you should consider how you would feel to hear the phrase in a given situation.
Of course, you wouldn’t want someone to say this to you following the death of a loved one. Saying “it’s going to be okay” to someone in mourning implies that they will recover quickly from their sadness and go on with life. Additionally, it implies that their loved one wasn’t an integral part of their lives and that this person’s death did not matter.
Saying this to someone experiencing extreme anxiety or stress may not be the best choice. Even if you have the best intentions at heart, saying “it’s going to be okay” to someone implies that what they are going through is trivial. Even if their problem may seem inconsequential to you in the grand scheme of life, the person hearing this statement may not feel this way.
We know we have done little to define the right time when it would be okay to say, “It’s going to be okay.” Because of this, let’s spend some time discussing some alternatives to this phrase – ones that offer reassurance without trivializing the problem.
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Alternative to ‘It’s Going to Be Okay’ to Say After a Death or Tragic Loss
Are you looking for something to say when someone dies unexpectedly? Or maybe the death was not unexpected, but you are searching for something to say to comfort a friend in mourning.
Here are some phrases to consider to offer sympathy to a person who lost a loved one instead of “it’s going to be okay.”
1. “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
We know that this phrase tends to be overused, but “I’m sorry for your loss” may be a better thing to say to someone in mourning instead of “it’s going to be okay.”
Even if your friend is eventually able to go on with life, they may not be able to consider that as an option at this point.
2. “I’m here for you.”
Remind your friend that you are there to hold their hand while she cries. You will be there when your friend faces their first holiday alone without their spouse. You will be there to lean on when they need someone to listen.
This is the kind of reassurance many people need when they lose a loved one.
3. “Your mom was an amazing woman. We will all miss her vivacious personality and wonderful spirit.”
Sometimes people need to know that they are not alone in their sadness and grief. Tell a mourning family member what you loved about the deceased. Share specific, positive stories about the person who died.
4. “I don’t know what to say.”
Are you struggling with knowing what to say? It’s okay to admit this. Telling someone that you don’t know what to say is better than offering false reassurances.
Alternative to ‘It’s Going to Be Okay’ When Someone’s Sick
A person’s mindset is extremely important when fighting an illness, so it is nice to reassure someone who is sick. On the other hand, some diagnoses are more severe than others, and not everyone gets better.
Here are some ways to reassure someone who is sick and will surely recover.
5. “You’ve got this!”
Is your friend facing knee replacement surgery and all the therapy that follows? Do they have strep throat and are miserable with a sore throat? Reassure them that things will get better and that their illness or injury will one day be an unpleasant memory.
6. “Things will only get better.”
When a friend suffers an injury, remind him that eventually, things will get better. When an active person is suddenly forced into inactivity, they need a reminder that the bad times are only temporary.
7. “I’m here to help.”
What does your friend need while going through an illness or injury? You could offer a ride to treatments or to take over carpool duties for their kids. You could make food for their families or simply give them a small gift to show you care.
Reassure your friend that you are there to help, no matter how serious the illness or injury is.
Alternative to ‘It’s Going to Be Okay’ During Coronavirus or Another Pandemic
Your friends and neighbors are suffering right now during the coronavirus pandemic. Many of them are feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Few activities are still available to take our minds off things, and many people have lost their jobs.
Here are some statements that may make some people feel better about the current state of the world.
8. “Pandemics are new to us, but they are not new to the world. Our ancestors got through this and we can too.”
This message of reassurance reminds people to put things in perspective. Other diseases have been eradicated, so this one can be too.
9. “This, too, shall pass.”
In the history of the world, there have been wars and famine. There have been natural disasters and tyrannical leaders. Regardless, the sun continues to rise each morning and set each evening.
Remind your friends and family members that life will continue after the pandemic is a bad memory for most people.
10. “This is temporary.”
Offer these messages of reassurance instead of spreading fear to the others around you. Instead of spreading rumors, encourage a collective (mask-covered) deep breath.
11. “Let’s try to stay positive.”
There are many causes for concern right now. While it is easy to go down a rabbit hole of worry, we can try to be positive sometimes. It’s fruitless to worry about something that you can’t control.
It can be overwhelming, but there are some things that can make us feel a little more positive. Try to help your loved ones and friends find what cheers them up, especially during a tenuous time like this.
Alternative to ‘It’s Going to Be Okay’ During Another Stressful Time
There are many reasons your friend or family member may be feeling anxious. Child rearing, job changes, health scares, and addiction are some of the reasons that your friend may feel stressed. That list only scratches the surface of what could go wrong in a person’s life. Still, others don’t need specific reasons to feel anxious. Anxiety may be a part of their lives.
Here are some ways you can reassure a friend that things will be okay eventually.
12. “I’m here to listen.”
You may not be able to fix your friend’s problem, but you can be there to listen. Listening without offering unwanted advice is difficult, but consider doing this for your friend.
13. “I’m sorry you are going through this.”
This phrase subtly reminds your friend that the pain and stress may be temporary. Going “through” something implies that there will be a time when the stress of the situation may be eliminated.
14. “I know you’re worried, but there’s not much you can do to fix the situation.”
Sometimes situations are out of your friend’s control. While this knowledge may not keep your friend from feeling anxious, it may allow them to put the problem in perspective.
Be careful not to judge a friend for feeling anxious for an uncontrollable situation. Telling someone to “be calm” is never an effective strategy either.
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15. “Are you okay?”
Instead of telling your friend that everything will be okay, consider asking your friend how they are feeling. Perhaps your friend doesn’t need the reassurance that things will become better. Some people can go through a stressful situation and still know that their life will return to normal at some point.
16. “Let’s try to think of a solution to your problem together.”
Do you think you can help your friend get through a rocky situation? Instead of being forceful or bossy, try to talk your friend through the problem. Let them discover the solution as a result of your conversation.
17. “I hope things will be okay.”
We know this statement is not as encouraging as many want to hear, but it may be more accurate. Saying this to a friend says, “I understand that you are going through a difficult time right now.” It also says, “I wish you the best as you navigate through this hard situation.”
We know that hope is not a good strategy for any situation, but your friend’s problem is not yours to solve.
Alternative ‘It’s Going to Be Okay’ Messages for a Family Member
In some situations, people talk more openly to family members than they do with friends or acquaintances. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take care with how you speak to your siblings, cousins, or parents.
Here are some alternatives to saying “it’s going to be okay” that might work for your specific situation.
18. “We’ve got your back.”
Remind your family member that your entire family will support them during this difficult time. This may be an especially powerful statement for those with large, close families.
19. “We come from a long line of survivors.”
The reminder of family stories may help your family member summon their inner strength to face a difficult situation. Your ancestors may have gone through depressions, world wars, famines, or major accidents and survived to tell their stories.
20. “We’re here to help.”
Whether you live far away or near your family member going through a crisis, you can figure out ways to help. For example, you can arrange for meals, housekeeping services, or grocery delivery from afar. You can also utilize Facetime, Uber, and other online services to support and assist a family member in need.
21. “Even though we have had our struggles, we’re still family.”
No family is perfect. And when someone in your family is going through a crisis, they may worry that past arguments will affect how much support will be offered. So reassure your brother, sister, aunt, or cousin that past issues are erased when a family member is in trouble.
22. “Grandma would have wanted us to stick together.”
Familial relationships are sometimes tricky, and your family may go through a series of rough patches when they experience significant losses. Reassure your family member in need that you will be there because “that’s what Mom would have wanted.”
23. “I’m here.”
These two simple words can offer a world of comfort and peace. Imagine hearing your family member say these words as you drift in and out of consciousness following an accident. Imagine someone saying this to you over the phone as you enter your empty home for the first time following a death.
This simple and beautiful statement can do so much to reassure your family members that whatever they are experiencing, they don’t have to do it by themselves. But unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky.
Alternative ‘It’s Going to Be Okay’ Messages for a Friend
Some people are closer to their friends than they are to their families. If you need to offer reassurance and support to a friend who is going through a tough time, consider these alternatives to “it’s going to be okay.”
24. “What can I do to help?”
While this question may offer reassurances in some situations, be careful of implying that something can be done to “fix the situation.” Some people simply want to be heard. They may already know that nothing can be done to solve the problem, or they may know what they need to do is difficult.
25. “You’ve got a friend in me.”
If you’re like most people, hearing this song lyric immediately brings to mind images of Buzz and Woody. So perhaps reminding your friend of this heartwarming movie would be an excellent strategy to alieve them of their worries.
26. “I’m listening.”
Some people don’t want to hear strategies to fix a situation. We know this sounds illogical, but it is the truth. Instead, some people just want to be heard, and they feel better after having someone listen to their stories.
27. “You were a good son/daughter (brother/sister), etc.”
If your friend recently lost a loved one, it may be appropriate to offer this reassurance. However, saying “it’s going to be okay” to someone who recently lost a family member implies that they won’t be affected by the loss. Instead, reassuring your friend that they were supportive of the one who passed may put them at peace.
28. “Tell me about your feelings.”
Encourage your friend to talk about their feelings. Remember, for most people, the automatic response to “how are you doing” is “fine.” You might have to work to get your friend to open up and share.
29. “I’m sorry to hear you are going through this.”
This is an example of offering empathy without judging the person or situation.
30. “I wish I could make this go away for you.”
Follow this statement with suggestions on how you could help relieve some of your friend’s stress, such as, “Can I drop off a meal to your family those nights you are at your dad’s house?” or “Can I sit with your mom while you take a nap?”
Alternative ‘It’s Going to Be Okay’ Messages for a Spouse or Partner
If anyone can offer you reassurances that things will indeed be “okay,” we would hope it would be your spouse or partner. After all, this is the one person in the world who you chose to be your life partner. This is the person who we hope would be able to reassure us more than any other person in our lives.
However, sometimes people experience such tragedy and loss that things will never be okay again. So how do you support your husband or wife during such a difficult time? Here are some examples of what to say.
31. “I love you.”
This simple phrase has been known to change lives. Remind your spouse or partner that they are loved.
32. “We have a ‘new normal.’”
You may have recently gone through a life-changing event. Unfortunately, things will never be the same for you and your partner. However, you can still navigate life with this new normal – and experience joy and happiness at times.
33. “I’ll always be here for you.”
Some couples become closer after experiencing shared tragedies. But sometimes, tragic circumstances drive people apart. Reassure your spouse that you will be there for them no matter what.
34. Say nothing.
You may have discussed your problems at length, but there may be nothing you can do to fix them. In that case, don’t overlook the healing power of touch. Hold your partner’s hand or hug them. Sit near them on the sofa as you watch TV.
People sometimes become calmer when experiencing human touch. It’s true for babies and the elderly. So why wouldn’t it be true for everyone else?
35. “Let’s pray together.”
People of faith turn to God during times of trouble. If you and your spouse are prayer warriors, consider praying together.
36. “We’ve been through a lot together.”
This phrase can work as a gentle reminder that even though life is tough at the moment, this, too, shall pass. Even though life may never be the same as the result of this diagnosis, death, or accident, you may have already been through life-changing events.
37. “You’re not alone.”
The death of a spouse or partner is sometimes described as feeling like losing a limb. If you are going through a tragic or stressful situation, you may feel reassured that at least you are not alone in your grief.
Alternative ‘It’s Going to Be Okay’ Messages for a Client, Coworker, or Boss
You probably don’t speak the same way to your client, coworker, or boss as you would to a family member or friend. If you are trying to reassure a professional acquaintance, consider the following phrases.
38. “What can I do to help?”
Show that you are a team player by jumping in when help is needed. If you aren’t sure how to assist, ask what you can do to help.
39. “Would you like me to run the reports for you? Attend that meeting in your place? Etc.”
If your coworker or boss is experiencing personal stress or tragedy, they may not be able to concentrate well enough on work to understand what needs to be done while they are out. Consider suggesting ways you can help.
40. “I’m praying for you.”
Even if your coworker or client isn’t a person of faith, they may appreciate your kind thoughts and words during a difficult time. But, of course, if you tell someone you are praying for them, do it.
41. “You are a valued client. Let us know how we can help.”
Valued clients going through tragic situations or crises may appreciate your company even more if you offer support during their times of need. Sometimes the bottom line needs to be ignored, and the company’s leadership needs to do what is right.
42. “Take all the time you need. Your job will be waiting for you.”
Your employee may need the reassurance that taking care of their families during a tragedy won’t result in the loss of their job.
43. “We have organized a meal train for your family.”
Some offices are close-knit and offer both emotional and financial support during crises. If you work in this type of office, you might consider delivering meals to a coworker experiencing a difficult situation. This would be especially helpful for coworkers who live away from family or are new to the area.
44. “Your coworkers donated some of their sick leave, so you can take the time you need before returning to work.”
Does your company have a sick leave pool that allows you to donate your leave to a coworker in need?
45. “Your Dunder Mifflin family is thinking of you.”
Some offices have a family atmosphere. This may be especially reassuring to those separated from their families by distance or estranged from their families.
Other Ways to Reassure a Friend
While most of us use kind words to reassure someone who is going through a difficult time, don’t forget to pair those words with actions.
Stop by your friend’s house some morning with coffee and muffins. This shows that you are thinking of your friend, and you wish them the best. Consider also leaving a surprise basket full of small treats at your friend’s front door. While you can include a card that says, “thinking of you,” you could also leave the basket anonymously.
Call or text your friend daily while they are going through a crisis. If you worry that you are a bother, send a reassuring meme or quote instead of asking questions about the issue. Help your friend with household chores and errands. Offer to babysit their kids for the day. Finally, check in with them as often as you can.