How to Write a Letter of Encouragement to a Friend + Examples

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Contributing writer, former long-term care admissions counselor and social worker

Do you have a friend who could use some kind words and encouragement? If so, a letter of encouragement can be a beautiful gift.

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Your friend can even save it for the future, in case it’s needed again. Your encouraging words are a unique way to show your support and offer hope. 

Steps for Writing a Letter of Encouragement

Is your friend up against some tough times or big changes in life? If so, it can be difficult to decide the best and most appropriate way to offer help.

By following these steps to write your letter, you’ll include every important part and create a beautiful gift.

Step 1: Consider the purpose of your letter

Of course, it’s important to have an overall idea of how you want to come across and what you want your friend to get out of reading it. Be conscious of your tone and try not to ramble. 

Make sure to do the following: 

  • Make them laugh.
  • Share a tip.
  • Include an inspiring quote.
  • Ask for a response.

Having an outline of your letter will ensure you include everything and are successful in giving your encouragement in a positive, helpful way. 

Step 2: Give yourself time

Set aside enough time to write your letter. It’s pretty obvious when a message is thrown together, and by “sitting on it” for a bit, you might think of some good inside jokes or advice to pass on.

You’ll also want this letter to be timely so it gets to your friend before a big event you are giving encouragement for. 

Step 3: Decide the type of letter you want to send 

Figure out what you want to send. You can send a handwritten letter, an email or a handmade card. Choose the best option for you and what you expect the receiver will appreciate most. 

Pro tip: A letter of encouragement is something your friend can refer to more than once. Consider writing your letter on a sturdy card so it can be read again and again.

Step 4: Include a personal touch 

The best part of your card is the personal touch. Start off by letting them know you’re thinking of them, and make it special with a personal tidbit that can only come from you. 

For example, let’s say your friend is going in for an interview. This is the time for you to embarrass her with compliments and refer to examples of her awesomeness. 

Other personal touches can include:

  • An inside joke to make her giggle.
  • A memory of when she did well or succeeded in the past.
  • Good advice you received.
  • A gift alongside the letter like a book or your friend’s favorite candy.

Step 5: Add a quote

Find a quote that matches the situation to beef up your card and include some extra inspiring words. There are tons of quotes about finding hope and inspiring words across the internet. 

Some generic quotes for encouragement include:

  • “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
  • “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that.”
  • “The most effective way to do it is to do it.”
  • “Life shrinks or expands in proportion with one’s courage.”

Pro tip: Think of your friend’s favorite person, movie, or song and include a quote from one of those. 

Step 6: Ask what your friend needs and offer what you can

End your letter with how and when your friend can reach you if she needs some extra help.

You might say:

  • “Call me anytime.”
  • “Let’s set up a lunch date soon.”
  • “I can take the kids if you need some time to prepare.”

Anything you can offer, from a text to a meal, will give your friend extra support and encouragement. 

Step 7: Read over your letter

Before licking the envelope, reread your letter and be sure it has the right tone and a personal touch. You aren’t going to want to be negative or come off the wrong way. Some people can take offense when you offer help. Be sure you’ve written your letter appropriately and respectfully as well. 

A great way to be sure you’re sending a great message is to put yourself in your friend’s shoes and analyze the letter from that perspective. Chances are, the letter will be received well but you don’t want to sound rude or assuming. 

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Example Letters of Encouragement

On an average day, positive words of encouragement to do our best and chase our dreams can be helpful and make a difference. There are also times when this is needed a little extra. If you’re writing a letter to your child, student, or loved one, here are some ways to execute it perfectly. 

To your child

To my brave, confident, smart, and talented child: 

You never cease to amaze me, and I know you will continue this trend through the tough time you’re experiencing right now. Life isn’t easy, and if I could, I would take on every struggle for you. Thankfully, I know you’re capable of getting through anything life throws at you with a smile on your face. 

Remember when you thought you couldn’t ride the highest roller coaster last summer? Or when you didn’t think an “A” was possible in your math class? I have never doubted you for a second. You have it inside you and I hope you know that.

Like it says in your favorite book, “Les Miserables,” “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”

You are going to get through this, and if you fall, I promise I will be there to catch you.

Love, 

[Your name] 

To a mentee or student

Dear [Student/Mentee],

Our time together has ended, but I will always be rooting for you. You have grown before my eyes, and I see big things in your future. An old teacher of mine once told me, “You learn more from failure than success.” Frankly, failure is inevitable but the real failure is quitting. 

You have the potential to achieve even your craziest dreams and I will always be here to remind you of that. Good luck! 

To another loved one

You have been on my mind a lot lately. You are the glue of our family and seeing you go through so much struggle tears us apart. We are here for you like you are always there for us. 

It’s like you always say, “You can do anything, but not everything.” Please take care of yourself and lean on us anytime you need to. You are a bright light wherever you go and one day soon this struggle will be a distant memory.

I am only a phone call away.

Love, 

[Your name]  

To a coworker 

Dear [Coworker's name],

I know you’re up to the new promotion and I wanted to let you know I’m pulling for you! I’ve seen you do great things here and I am inspired by you daily. Your work with the latest project was so impressive and I look forward to what you have up your sleeve.

Please let me know if I can offer any additional support! 

Best, 

[Your name] 

Encouragement Can Go a Long Way

The easiest thing to do in life is throw in the towel. It can seem pretty appealing when the alternative is struggle, pain, adversity, and effort. Encouragement from friends and family can go a long way in deciding to move forward and getting through tough times.

Don’t forget about your future self. If you foresee a hard time in your future or an event that will make you feel incapable, write a letter to your future self

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