What Not To Say To A Depressed Person & What To Say Instead

Hanima Anand |Jun 29, 2020

In a society where every individual has to bear so much pressure and stress, we should know how to approach others in a more subtle way to not harm their emotions any more. Check below what you should say and never say to those with depression.

Some words hurt more than physical pain, so we should be very careful in choosing what to say to others, especially in this sensitive period when everyone has to experience great pressure due to the pandemic.

We have seen many in stress, resorting to their last choice to end the pain. To not make things worse for those who are already on the edge, please note down these careless words which you never want to say to someone with depression.

What Not To Say To A Depressed Person 1
Words are sharper than knives, sometimes.

What not to say to a depressed person

There are some cliché expressions that we often hear from others when they try to console us. But people don’t know those condolences do not serve any purpose. They make us feel worse, sometimes.

If you’re trusted by a depressed person, please never tell them this while listening to their story.

  • It’s all in your head

This sentence makes depressed people even more stressed and continue to blame themselves. Outsiders often put it down to their overthinking state and do not relate to their problems. This expression hints that they are the ones to be fixed while others can’t do anything to help them get rid of those thoughts.

What Not To Say To A Depressed Person 2
Please don't make things worse if you can't change it for the better.
  • A lot of people have it worse than you/ Everyone has bad days.

It seems many people want the situation hit its bottom after saying this. Please do not compare when you are talking to those with depression. They don’t need you to make them feel more ashamed of their feelings. Gradually they may not want to share their feelings and munch them all alone.

  • It’s a beautiful day!

Don’t give a false cheer just to make it like you are caring. Your day and the day of a person with depression is much different, which you may never know.

Trying to ignore their problems and offering false cheer like this will make them feel guilty of their negative feelings.

What Not To Say To A Depressed Person 3
If it is really a beautiful day, why don't you two go for a walk?
  • You’re just looking for attention.

Now this is exactly an accusation which ruins the whole conversation with a depressed person. If you can’t help them, please do not judge.

When someone is combatting against depression, of course they need others to help. That is not a frivolous act of gaining attention but a positive sign of trying to get over their negative feelings. Please feel happy when they come to you for sharing.

Just sit quietly and listen to them. Give them a hug and involve them in your activities.

  • You should get out more/ Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

Oh please don’t tell them to do such things as normal when they are struggling with their thoughts inside. They are trying to reach for help when they come to you then all that you can do is cliché advice like this.

Scroll down towards the end of the article to see what you can say instead of these expressions.

What Not To Say To A Depressed Person 4
Hold their hands while listening to the stories!

What to say to a depressed person

Now let’s see what you should say to someone with depression. This may not cost you a dime but worth millions to those in need.

With a tactful conversation, you can change their entire world!

  • I understand. I care about you.

That’s not the only phrase you may say but the idea is let’s tell them how much you care about their feelings and their lives.

Tell them you can totally relate to their stories. Tell that you may also fall into those feelings if in their situation and you understand what they feel.

What Not To Say To A Depressed Person 5
A hug does wonders for those in depression.
  • You are important to us.

When someone feels depressed, they may feel they are no longer needed. Please tell them how much they mean to you and surrounding people. Remind them of good deeds they have done for others and people appreciate that.

The purpose of this sentence is to help them realize their value, which grants them the motivation to move on.

  • Would you go for a walk with me?

In fact, there are many other things you can do other than going on a walk together. However, what we mean is you can offer help in the form of suggestion. Instead of saying ‘you should get out more’, let’s ask them to walk through the park with you. Keep them company and they will no longer feel lonely.

Below are examples of what not to say and what to say to a depressed person if you truly want to help them get over the pool of negative thoughts.

What not to say to a depressed person What to say to a depressed person instead
I’d love you to see you cheer up. I’m sorry you’re not feeling well. Is there anything you want to share with me?
It’s all in your head. I will try my best to understand.

I can totally relate to your feelings.

No one said life was fair. I know you’re struggling and I really admire you for pushing through this.
A lot of people have it worse than you. What you’re going through is real. I or anyone in your situation would feel that way.
It’s a beautiful day. Want to grab a cup of coffee today?
You should get out more. Would you like to go for a walk with me?
Let’s get over it. How can I support you during this difficult time?
You don’t look depressed. Tell me more about what’s going on. Help me understand.
Everyone has bad days. I’m sorry you’re having a bad day. I would like to help.
Why don’t you smile more? You’re dragging me down. Your feelings are valid. Just let them out. I’m here for you.
You have such a great life. Why aren’t you happy? I understand that you are hurting. I have your back.
Is there anything I can do for you? Could I come over and keep you company?
What Not To Say To A Depressed Person 6
Pick your words carefully to bring someone's smiles back!

Final Notes

The last thing Starbiz wants to note is that during the entire conversation with a depressed person, please try to listen and understand. Sometimes, you don’t need to say a word but sympathy listening can do wonders to the other side.

You should also suggest those with constant depression seek help from doctors. Please make them understand that it’s a normal treatment like other illnesses. Depression is treatable. If they’re ready, ask them if you can drive them to the doctor's appointment.

With these tips on what not to say to a depressed person and vice versa, we hope that you can make positive changes to someone’s life.

>>> Related post: How To Be Happy Alone? – Tips For Mental Well-Being During Tough Time


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