How to Cheer Up a Friend

Two senior men smiling and hugging

When you know someone well, it’s easy to tell when they’re having an off day. Your friend might be less talkative than usual, or less inclined to smile and laugh. You might find them staring off into space, as though they have a lot on their mind. And of course, in some cases, they’ll be extremely upfront about the fact that they’re down for one reason or another. Whatever the case may be, remember that you might be able to turn their frown upside down. Use the tips below if you’re wondering how to cheer up a friend.

How to Cheer Up a Friend

Ask how you can help.

If you want to get straight to the root of the issue, simply ask your friend what you can do to help them feel better. In many cases, they won’t know or they’ll refuse the help. But sometimes, they’ll give a concrete answer – give me advice, take a walk with me, do me this favor – and you simply need to act.

Send them a handwritten note.

Whether you live nearby or far away, show your friend how much you care by writing them a note by hand. Let them know that you’re thinking about them. Tell them why they’re important to you. Share a funny story or an inspiring quote. Although you could do this over text or email, the personal touch of a handwritten note will be appreciated.

Give them a tasty treat.

What’s their favorite snack or dessert? Sometimes all it takes to make someone a little happier is to treat them to one of their favorite foods. If you live nearby, you could pop by their home with their favorite ice cream or some homemade cookies. And if you live far away, try looking up local shops in their area that deliver.

Ask them to join you on a walk.

Exercise and the great outdoors are both natural mood boosters. Plus, they’re inexpensive and easily accessed. Whether you hike at a national park, admire the flowers at a local garden, or simply take a walk around the block, strolling in the fresh air may elevate your friend’s spirits.

Offer to help with a chore or errand.

When we’re feeling down, even a relatively minor task can feel like a mountain to climb. To prevent your friend’s mood from worsening and ease their stress, offer to help with something on their to-do list. For example, you could fold their laundry, pick up a book they have on hold at the library, or help them pick out a birthday gift for their granddaughter.

Give them a hug.

It may sound simple, but a hug can be tremendously powerful at the right moment. In fact, hugging causes the brain to release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. So if you notice your friend is feeling blue, give them a warm hug when you next see them.


Finally, remember that in some situations, sadness is important and plays a valuable role in healing. Instead of trying to learn how to cheer up a friend, you may need to focus on simply being there for them. Let them know that they’re not alone and you’re there if they want to talk.

We all have bad days from time to time. When you’re feeling blue, remember to turn to your friends for love and support.

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Files under: Living with Purpose