Encouraging messages are a great way to acknowledge a friend’s accomplishments, goals, and personal struggles. But you’ll want to follow these general guidelines to compose the most meaningful message.
1. When to Send Encouraging Messages
You feel the urge to connect by letting someone else know they’re doing a great job or moving in the right direction. But there’s a fine line between sending encouragement and butting into someone else’s business.
So, it’s important to think about why you’re sending an encouraging note. Is it for you to feel good that they finally followed your advice or do you genuinely want to encourage this person?
2. Why Send an Encouraging Note
An encouraging message makes sense when someone has reached out seeking emotional support, but not when it’s congratulating them on a personal achievement they’ve never openly discussed with you.
For example, if you have a friend who struggles with their weight and has asked for your support, an encouraging message may be welcome.
But if that same friend just lost some weight but has never expressed they’re trying to, an encouraging message now feels like you’re judging them. The same goes for dating, kicking a habit or addiction, leaving a bad relationship, and similar sensitive topics.
Another opportunity for encouragement is when someone has experienced a sudden loss. This one is a bit easier to navigate. But you should still think about why you want to encourage someone—for them or you.
3. Focus on Them
Your encouraging messages should focus on the person and not a similar experience you went through and overcame. You may mean well. But the latter can be a sign of narcissism.
Put yourself in their shoes rather than trying to fit them into your worldview and experiences.
4. Keep It Short or Long
This depends on the person. Think about what they would appreciate. Some people would love a 5-page letter from you, complete with flower stickers and a picture your 3-year-old drew for them. Others would get more out of words you might see on a locker room poster.
- Hang in there.
- I’m rooting for you.
- Sorry about your recent loss.
- Take care of yourself.
- You’ve got this!
- I can’t wait to catch up with you.
5. Take Your Time to Get it Right
Even if this is a 10-word message, take time to choose those words. Write it. Read it aloud. Edit. Pretend you’re them reading it. Edit again.
6. Add a Meaningful Quote
Find a quote from a person your friend admires that relates to the situation. Place it in quotes and cite the source so they know where those words came from.
Religious sayings can be a great source of strength, comfort, and motivation for the right person. But just like sending them a quote from a movie they’ve never seen, that same saying may not mean to them what it means to you.
7. Make It Personal
Add an inside joke or reference only they’ll know. This one may not be appropriate in certain situations, but inside jokes foster feelings of connection. Whatever your friends are going through, you want them to know you’re thinking of them and will always be here for them. A little inside information demonstrates this in a way simple words cannot.