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:
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.