112 Words of Encouragement to Help Someone Get Through a Tough Day
We could all use a boost sometimes, and the right words of encouragement and support can make more of a difference than you realize
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
Little words of encouragement can mean so much
There’s no doubt about it: Life can be hard. Even when things are generally going well, some days are just rough. And when things aren’t going well? Well, that’s a whole different story. In either situation, though, it helps to know we’re not alone, and even the smallest words of encouragement in the form of a “thinking of you” message or an uplifting quote can make a huge difference in someone’s day—and life.
“If we knew everyone perfectly, we would recognize that they all struggle with something. In fact, I think it’s safe to assume that most days for most people have at least a few challenges,” says Michael Westover, a counselor and the author of A Worthwhile Life: How to Find Meaning, Build Connection, and Cultivate Purpose. “So this means everyone can benefit from some form of encouragement on a regular basis.”
That’s true whether someone’s going through a breakup, looking for a new job, dealing with sleepless nights after welcoming a baby or simply having a bummer of a day. No, we can’t fix their problems, but we can give them the strength, courage and love to help them survive a challenging time.
What can I say to give someone strength?
Something as simple as a “hello,” a hug or a “good morning” message can be very encouraging, says Westover. But it helps to have a few phrases handy to be more empathetic and precise in how we encourage people. Westover also offers the following advice when crafting encouraging messages:
- Be sincere. Insincere encouragement will feel false and patronizing, and it can have the opposite effect.
- Ask about what’s weighing on them. Go beyond a generic, “Hey, how are you?” and ask in a way that shows you’re interested in the response. For example: “Hi, Jan. You’ve seemed a little down lately. Would you like to talk about it?”
- Listen to their answer. Nod, make eye contact and don’t check your phone. (That’s one of the top etiquette rules for being a good listener.)
- Resist the urge to offer advice. The only time you should offer advice? When they specifically ask for it.
“It’s all about building relationships,” Westover says. “Your reassuring words will be more effective the better you understand people and the more trust is built. Then you will know just what they need to hear.”
Still not sure what to say? We compiled a list of the best ideas for words of encouragement and strength to keep someone going. Some are inspirational and motivating, while others are flat-out funny because, as they say, laughter is the best medicine. If the situation also requires get well wishes or condolence messages, we’ve got you covered with those too.
Get Reader’s Digest’s Read Up newsletter for more etiquette tips, humor, cleaning, travel, tech and fun facts all week long.
Words of encouragement for a friend
1. Look at it this way: You’ve already survived 100% of your worst days! You’ll get through this one too.
2. I’m here for you—no matter what. You’re not alone in this.
3. You’ve so got this! We all have so much faith in you that even my cat thinks you can do it—and you know how judgy Mittens can be!
4. I’m never gonna give you up. Never gonna let you down. Never gonna run around and desert you. And yes, you just got rick-rolled!
5. An optimist is someone who decides that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not failure—it’s salsa dancing! Who doesn’t love salsa dancing?
6. I’m proud of you for trying. Keep pushing forward.
7. Don’t give up now! You’ve come too far to take orders from a bunch of molecules in your brain that can’t even tell the difference between reality and a dream.
8. You’re doing better than you think! Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it was built without YouTube tutorials. So you’ve got a leg up on the ancients.
9. You’re doing great! Don’t forget to celebrate your progress.
10. If life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. And then come to my house because I have vodka. Oh, look—it’s a party!
11. Mistakes happen, but they don’t define you. Keep going, friend.
12. You are capable of amazing things—I’ve seen them myself! And I’m more than happy to remind you of how amazing you are anytime you need to hear it.
13. I am so proud of you—you are handling this like a boss. Or at least like a really efficient administrative assistant.
14. “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You must not lose it.” —Robin Williams
15. “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who had kept on trying when there seemed no hope at all.” —Dale Carnegie
16. I know it’s hard, but don’t give up. You’ll get there.
17. You’re stronger than you think. You can handle anything that comes your way.
18. You know how they always say: “You only get today once?” To that, I say: “Thank heavens!” (Tomorrow will be better, friend!)
19. You’re killing it! Figuratively speaking, of course. We don’t want any actual casualties.
20. I’m inspired by your resilience and determination. Keep up the great work.
Good friends will also appreciate a good laugh, and we’ve got the perfect funny memes for an easy pick-me-up.
Words of encouragement for women
21. My love, when you look at the diamond on your finger, remember that a diamond is merely a lump of coal that did well under pressure. Also remember that I love you.
22. No matter what happens, Mom, I am here for you, and we’ll get through this together.
23. They say that well-behaved women seldom make history, so as your bestie, I’m telling you to get out there and start disrupting stuff!
24. You’re an amazing person and wife, and I am so lucky to be with you.
25. The next time someone says, “You’ll regret this in the morning,” tell them that’s why you sleep till noon. (Hint: You’ve always been a great problem solver!)
26. Sisters are forever, and I’m forever here for you.
27. Live the kind of life where instead of saying, “She’s such a sweet old lady,” people will yell, “Wait—she’s doing what now?!”
28. I love you, and I hope you can feel me cheering you on from the sidelines.
29. Things will turn out OK. And if they don’t? We can always blame it on Mercury being in retrograde!
30. You are a bright, shining light in this world. Don’t let anything dim that, sis.
31. There is no standing still in life: You’re either moving forward or backward. And you’ve never been a backward kinda gal.
32. My love, I appreciate all that you do and all that you are, and I’m grateful to have you in my life. Know I’m always in your corner.
33. Hey, girl—you’re doing awesome! If they still gave out gold stars for life achievements, you’d have your whole forehead covered by now. (Like a nice sheet mask but … stickier.)
34. You’ve got this in the bag, girl! And if not, we can always pretend we never wanted that bag in the first place. (Then let’s go shopping for new bags!)
Of course, flowers are always a good idea. Scroll through our favorite online flower delivery services to have the perfect thing delivered right to her doorstep.
Words of encouragement for men
35. Honey, you have a tough decision to make, and only you can make it. Just know that I love you forever and I will respect you always, no matter what.
36. Hey, Dad, remember when you taught me how to drive? One of the best things you taught me was that if you only look in the rearview mirror, you’re guaranteed to crash. Keep looking forward—and know I’m there riding shotgun with you.
37. I admire your perseverance and determination. You’ve always been such an example of strength to me.
38. If at first you don’t succeed, then maybe skydiving is not for you. But lots of other things will be! Like bungee jumping. That would be cool. Let’s do it, bro.
39. Keep pushing, Dad! You’ve always been like a superhero … just with a bad back and without the cape.
40. You always taught me that when life pushes you down, you push back harder. So don’t stop pushing now!
41. You’re the smartest, most capable man I know, and I’m so grateful to be married to you.
42. Remember that I’m here for you and we’re in this together, no matter what happens—brothers forever.
43. Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”
44. Son, I’m so proud of the man you have become, and I have all the faith in the world that you will overcome this current challenge.
45. You’re unstoppable! Unless there’s a really good happy hour special going on. Then you might be stoppable … but only for an hour!
46. My love, remember that every step you take, no matter how small, brings you closer to your (and our) goals and dreams.
47. Sometimes all you need is someone to really believe in you. Know that I believe in you with all my heart and soul!
48. Every expert started as a beginner. Yes, even Spider-Man crashed into a few buildings.
When you’re on the receiving end of an encouraging message, you might want to return the favor with a thank-you message.
Words of encouragement during a job search
49. I believe in you and your many talents and abilities. You’ve got this!
50. It doesn’t matter how many times you “fail.” All you have to do is succeed once.
51. If the elevator of success is out of order, you’ll just have to take the stairs.
52. I know leaving your last job was tough, but as Lord Chesterfield once said, “It’s not possible to discover new oceans unless one is willing to lose sight of the shore.” Here’s to feeling the wind in your sails again soon!
53. Believe in yourself, and trust that you have the strength, courage and resilience to overcome any obstacles to finding the best job for you.
54. So excited to watch you progress to the next stage of your career.
55. “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” —Winston Churchill
56. If you get 100 doors slammed in your face, you knock on 101. You got this!
57. If all you can do at the end of the day is say, “I’ll try again tomorrow,” then that’s enough for today.
58. “The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking spaces.” —Will Rogers
59. I know not getting that job you really wanted feels devastating. But remember: Failure is just a bend in the road—it’s not the end of the road.
60. Don’t give up! The only thing worse than quitting is realizing you’ve run out of chips and dip. I’ll bring those over tonight if you want to talk about it!
61. Benjamin Franklin once said, “All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable and those that move.” And you’ve always been a mover and a shaker!
62. Moving on is the easy part—grieving what you left behind is hard. I’m here if you want to talk it through.
63. You may not see it, but you’re making progress. A little every day adds up!
When they land their dream job, don’t forget to send congratulations messages!
Words of encouragement after a breakup or divorce
64. When you’re brave enough to finally say “goodbye,” life will give you a brand-new “hello.”
65. You’ve got this! Dating after divorce is just like riding a bike. Except the bike is on fire and you’re on fire and you’re headed toward a dumpster fire! Just kidding—it’s that, but with drinks.
66. Sometimes the best therapy is a winding drive, some straight talk and great company. Fortunately, I can help you out with all three!
67. “Age is of no importance unless you’re a cheese.” —Billie Burke
68. Moving forward is one of the most important decisions you make in life because that’s when the growth happens.
69. “The great courageous act that we all must do is to have the courage to step out of our history and past so that we can live our dreams.” —Oprah Winfrey
70. Know that you have people in your corner who are cheering you on and supporting you every step of the way.
71. You are strong, smart, capable and gorgeous/handsome. I have no doubt that you’ll find joy and peace in this next stage of your life.
72. I’m always here to listen and support you in any way I can. You’re not alone.
73. Remember, going through pain is temporary, and you will feel better—maybe not today, but it will happen.
74. Change may not be a four-letter word … but our reaction to it often is. Hang in there!
75. Look at it this way: All of this would make a great Taylor Swift song!
76. Divorce is tough, but you are tougher! And don’t forget, I always have your back!
Hope springs eternal, especially when it comes to love. These hope quotes can remind them that life goes on—and will get better.
Words of encouragement during recovery
77. Recovery is a process, and it takes time. Be gentle and patient with yourself.
78. Pain is a reminder that you’re still alive—a rude reminder, sure, but a powerful one!
79. Remember that setbacks are just temporary. Keep your head up, and keep moving forward.
80. You’re a true fighter. You may get knocked down, but you always get back up again.
81. I know this isn’t easy, but don’t give up. You’re worth it!
82. Don’t worry about making mistakes in your recovery. Remember, even Rembrandt was just a really good finger painter, if you look closely.
83. You have my unconditional love and support during this journey to health and wellness.
84. “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” —Viktor Frankl
85. “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible!'” —Audrey Hepburn
86. Feel grateful to your past, look forward to your future and know you will survive today.
87. Please call anytime you want to talk. I’d love to listen!
88. Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing your best, and that’s all that matters.
89. You are strong and smart and brave. You are everything you need to get through this. You are enough.
90. “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.” —Zig Ziglar
91. Keep pushing through this wall of pain and I know you’ll break through to the other side!
92. Keep going! You’re making progress, even if it feels slow. Remember, even the turtle eventually made it to the finish line, and that’s all that matters.
93. Remember that progress takes time. Keep taking small steps forward.
94. Recovery is a long ride, but you’ve already bought the ticket and boarded the train—don’t get off now.
These empowering strength quotes can also give someone the courage and confidence they need.
Words of encouragement for kids
95. Think like a proton: Always be positive!
96. Today was hard. Tomorrow will be better.
97. “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” —The Dalai Lama
98. You can’t win everything—after all, where would we store all the trophies?
99. I love you, and I’m always here to listen or give you a hug.
100. You’re doing great! If this were a video game, you’d be fighting the final boss and getting ready to level up now.
101. Remember, kiddo, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight—it’s the size of the fight in the dog. And you’re a Great Dane!
102. You’ve got this! I believe in you.
103. I’m so proud of you for working so hard toward your goals. Keep it up!
104. I have complete faith in you and your decision-making.
105. You have so much potential, and I can’t wait to see you achieve your dreams.
106. You’ve worked so hard to get this far. Keep going!
107. The only way forward is through. So keep pushing through the tough stuff!
108. “Life is like riding a bicycle: To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” —Albert Einstein
109. You’re a strong and resilient person. You can handle anything that comes your way.
110. You didn’t fail 100 times—you just found 99 ways that don’t work.
111. One bad day won’t ruin a good life or a great future.
112. Keep going, and keep shining!
Once they know you’re rooting for them, take their minds off a stressful situation with these short jokes for kids.
Little gifts sure to make them smile
Adding a small gift to go along with your words of encouragement can give them a visual reminder that you’re there for them and make them feel extra loved. You shouldn’t spend a lot on these types of gifts—it truly is the thought that counts.
- Homesick Happy Place Candle: Notes of white lily, lemon zest, grapefruit and jasmine will take them right to their happy place when they need a little boost.
- Urban Stems The Sonny: It’s impossible not to smile when you look at sunflowers, and these will certainly bring some sunshine to their day.
- Stacey Kearns Art Hug Box: If only you could send them a big, warm hug—oh, wait, you can! This adorable little gift box, which comes with a “hug in a mug” and a pretty glass worry stone, will provide a dose of comfort when you can’t be there.
- Cheryl’s Cookies “Sending Good Vibes” Cookie Pail: Sometimes you just need good vibes. And cookies. Cookies are always welcome.
- Tony & Sandy Inspirational Bracelet: Perfect for a daughter or friend, this bracelet has the encouraging message “Believe in you like I do” inscribed on the inside. She’ll peek at it when she needs it the most—and hear your voice when she does.
Michael Westover, counselor and author of A Worthwhile Life: How to Find Meaning, Build Connection, and Cultivate Purpose