Frequently Asked Questions About Helping A Friend With Depression


I have been best friends with Cindy since our preschool days. We were brought up in the same neighborhood and had the same teachers and classmates from elementary to high school. Though there was no doubt about our lack of blood relation, we somehow looked alike – from the fair complexion to the big curly hair to the tiny mole on our cheeks. It caused new acquaintances to believe that we were twins, and to be honest, we ate it up most of the time. The only time that Cindy and I were not together was during bedtime, so we might as well be twins.

Between the two of us, though, I was the emotionally weak one. After all, since we lived in a small community, my parents’ split was not a secret to our neighbors. Everyone perhaps saw or heard about my mother throwing my father’s clothes out of the window after finding out about his mistresses. It ended up in divorce, and I never saw Dad again, making the other heartless kids at school taunt me about it until I cried.  

Much to my luck, Cindy was there most of the time to fight my battles. If someone made fun of me, she would clap back at them. If someone kept badgering me, she would hunt that kid down and pick a fight with them. I felt terrible because my best friend often got in trouble because of me, but Cindy assured me that it was completely fine. “Perhaps someday you will be tougher than me. By then, you can help me fight my battles,” she used to say.

Two decades passed since then, and I eventually learned how to stop getting affected by others’ comments. Cindy and I attended the same university after high school, although our paths were different – she became a doctor while I became a lawyer. Despite our busy schedules, we often found ways to meet and catch up with our lives. 

A Hurricane Came

One Friday night, I was supposed to visit a new bar with Cindy, but she was a no-show when I arrived. We had not seen each other in two months, but this get-together was in our shared calendar, so I did not think she missed it. If Cindy couldn’t make it because of work, she would have texted me. I tried calling her, but to no avail, so I decided to leave the bar and go straight to her condo.

Once I arrived at Cindy’s place, I used the spare key that she gave me to open the door. It was pitch-black inside; that’s why my initial thought was that my best friend was not at home. However, I heard a faint sniffle inside, so I went back and turned on all the lights. That’s when I saw Cindy in her bedroom, crying silently. It seemed like she had not left the bed for days.

“What’s wrong? What happened to you?” I asked immediately.

“I’m pregnant, but my boyfriend left me when he found out about it. He said he wasn’t ready to be a father,” Cindy confided as fresh tears trickled down her face.

“Oh, honey,” was all I could say. I hugged my best friend as I thought of how I could help her.

How do you calm down a depressed person?

  • Encourage the person to let out their depressive feelings. That is especially true if you have just learned that they do not feel well mentally and emotionally. At this point, they may appreciate you more if you lend an ear and listen until they have nothing to talk about.
  • Try to ensure the individual that their feelings are valid. The last thing they need to hear is you laughing at them or finding their feelings ridiculous. Even if they get a whiff of that, the person may shut down and become more depressed.
  • In case the individual asks you for advice, think about every word you want to say before saying it. Remember that they are in a fragile state of mind, so you cannot say anything that will depress them further. Simultaneously, you should not encourage the person to repress their emotions since that worsens everything.
  • Trying to cheer them up or promising that everything will turn out fine the next morning is a no-no. You know that is not true – changes cannot happen overnight. The depressed individual is aware of that, too. Instead, you can promise to give them all the support they need while dealing with their issues.

How do you help a sad friend?

  • Listen to your friend. Find out what makes them sad.
  • If your friend needs mental assistance, try to help them look for a suitable psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist. You can go as far as accompanying them to the sessions if that’s what they want.
  • Encourage your friend to continue trying to get better. That is especially important when depression reigns in their system, and they do not want to move forward.
  • Learn about your friend’s mental disorder. It is one thing to hear about the symptoms from them; it is another thing to gain information from the experts. Doing so allows you to understand their condition better.

How do you cheer up an upset friend?

There are a lot of ways to cheer up an upset friend. The common ones include taking them out for ice cream, bringing them to a club, or doing any activity they enjoy. If the problem is more severe than that, though, simple distractions may not work. In that case, you two need to sit down and let your friend know that they can confide in you anytime. 

When you have your friend’s trust, ask them, “What do you want to do now?” Though it’s tempting, you cannot tell your friend what you think they should do – the next action must come from them. You are only supposed to support them and be there when they need a shoulder to lean on. So, if your friend suddenly wants to go on a road trip, do it. If they’re going to try CrossFit or another workout, sign up for it. As long as their fun ideas do not endanger them or you or anyone else, it will be fine.

What to say to someone who is struggling?

From the get-go, a struggling individual needs to hear that you are not leaving their side, whether they are ready to reveal what they are struggling about or not. This assurance can do wonders to anyone, especially when they seem to be at crossroads and do not know who to trust. You may also say something along the lines of “You don’t have to say you’re okay if that’s not how you feel” or “You can take a break from everything for as long as you need.” 

How do you cheer up someone?

The reality is that it is challenging to cheer up someone who does not feel like cheering up. It entails that they are not in that headspace yet, and pushing them to feel that way instantly may cause you to push them away. Thus, you should avoid that by asking first what kind of friend they want you to be at that moment. You can be an adviser, a joker, a teacher, or even a silent listener – as long as it is realistically possible, be that person for them.

Once that’s established, and you already know what bothers your friend, you can devise a plan to help counter their negative emotions. The thing is, it is inadvisable to force them to do anything. Instead, you should give them several options so that they can feel in control of their lives again. Then, be there for them.

What can you say to make someone feel better?

  • Call me anytime.
  • I will always be one ring away.
  • I love you – you need not hide anything from me.
  • I accept you, flaws and all.
  • Nothing you say can make me love you less.
  • You are worthy of love, affection, and more.
  • All problems can be resolved.

How do you cheer someone up during a lockdown?

  • Write love letters to your friends and family. It can be handwritten, considering you live under the same roof. However, if you do not, it may be ideal – and safer – to send your message through text or e-mail.
  • Share funny videos of yourself or anything that your loved one finds hilarious. Doing so will give them something to laugh or at least smile about despite the lockdown.
  • Send creative gifts to cheer up someone. It can be a sketchpad, puzzle, or even a coloring book. This way, your loved one will have a new activity to try and feel a sense of accomplishment afterward.
  • Arrange virtual get-togethers. For instance, you can have a Netflix party or a simple video conference with your family or friends.

What can I say to make someone smile?

  • Thank you for always being there for me all the time.
  • I appreciate the way you bring light into my world.
  • I love how you encourage me to be a better version of myself.
  • You always remind me how to be true to myself.
  • Everything you do amazes me.
  • No one else can replace you.
  • I may never be where I am without you.
  • Your kindness is infectious.
  • I feel complete now that you are in my life.

How do you make someone happy?

  • Thank the person for whatever they have done for you, big or small.
  • Offer your help to people who seem to be in dire need of it.
  • Go out of your way to make someone laugh.
  • Write letters of appreciation for people who deserve it.
  • Please pay attention to someone when you are with them.
  • Kindly your knowledge with anyone who wants or needs it.
  • Infect people with your happiness.

How can I boost someone’s mood?

Experts say that you can boost someone’s mood in less than ten minutes. To achieve that, you may try the following:

  • Give them a gift. It does not matter what kind or how much it is – what matters is that you have thought of giving them one.
  • Share your blessings. Some people think they can do that by donating money or clothes to charities, and that’s true. However, if you have no material objects to give, you can offer your assistance or time or show them that you care for their well-being.
  • Become your friend’s confidante. Often, no matter what you do, a person’s mood will not let up if they are still harboring negative thoughts and emotions. Hence, it is ideal for letting them unload everything to you so that they can finally cheer up.
  • Invite your loved one to meditate. Stressful events in a person’s life can make them sad, angry, or bitter, you see. Since you technically cannot step in and resolve their issues, the best thing you can do is help them find their inner peace through meditation.

How do you lift someone’s mood?

  • Praise someone. It makes people smile when they hear that another person notices their work.
  • Offer constructive criticism whenever possible. However, you should be careful with the words you use, especially when the individual already feels like a loser.
  • Ensure that the person knows that you care about what becomes of them. More often than not, realizing this fact pushes someone to change their habits and become a better version of themselves.
  • Try not to meddle with someone’s business. Perfection does not always make a person happy. Sometimes, they may feel more at ease when they see that you trust them to do the right thing in the end.

Final Thoughts

I eventually figured out that the best way to help my depressed best friend was to encourage her to face her issues without being meddlesome. Throughout her pregnancy, she merely focused on finding inner peace and accepting that she would become a single mom. Cindy’s boyfriend did not show up again, but she was already more resilient than ever before her child was born. 

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