Want to do more than just “be there” for a family member, friend, or loved one who’s down?
Your presence is important — incomparable, even. However, your presence alone might not get rid of the negativity they’re feeling.
As their friend, help them get their mind off of what they’re going through.
So how about check out 10 ways that can lift them up?
Why do you need to cheer up your friend?
You need to cheer up your friend because you don’t want them to stay down for good. Chances are, they ran into a problem.
That problem might be insignificant. If you’re not around to remind them of that, though, they might not realize that.
Signs that your friend is down:
- Irritability and anger – You can’t understand why they would get mad at the smallest things.
- Unusual loss of interest – Something’s troubling them if they’re not interested in a previous passion.
- Reckless behavior – They feel brave and fearless. And they don’t seem to care about the consequences of their actions.
“So, how do I cheer up my friend?”
You already know the signs. Now, for 10 actionable ways:
1. Play games
Take your friend’s mind away from all seriousness and replace it with fun.
Looking for ideas?
- Board games – Sit down opposite each other and talk while you battle it out. Monopoly and Snakes and Ladders are classics.
- Virtual reality – MMORPGs are excellent options.
- Sports – Bowling and mini-golf sound fun if your friend is up for it.
2. Offer to do chores
If you see a pile of dirty laundry at their place, then cheer them up by washing it for them.
This doesn’t apply to dirty laundry only. You can take out the trash, sweep the rug, take care of the dirty dishes — anything that needs attention.
And one of the best ways to play this out is to surprise them with the finished tasks. If you took a load off their shoulders without them seeing it coming, they might jump for joy.
On the flip side, does your friend hate surprises? If so, consider asking their permission first.
3. Write a note
No matter how you want to write a note to your friend, don’t forget to do it by hand. They may appreciate it better if a personal touch comes with the package.
Here are cool ways you can do it:
- Use Post-it notes – Post-its are colorful and can give off a happy vibe. Write chunks of messages then leave them where they could see them easily.
- Write from their future self – Ask them if what they’re worrying about will still matter to them 10 years from today. Then tell them they might want to let the problem go if it won’t.
- Decorate the letter – Make the letter bold. Using a lovely stationery or cut out pieces from old magazines can turn their emotions around.
4. Send a worry doll
Muñeca quitapena is Spanish for a worry or trouble doll. The Mayans believe that this doll takes worries away.
So if you want something legendary to do to cheer up a loved one, this is it.
Send them a worry doll, tell them to leave it under their pillow overnight, and Voila! By morning, their worries are off to a place nobody knows.
5. Bring food
In movies, when someone is sad, you can see them gobbling up a pint of ice cream. If not, a whole tub of it.
When a person is dealing with negative emotions, their ability to detect sweet flavors is 15% better. Their situation also downgrades their ability to taste fat.
However, if your friend or loved one is not into sweets, bring alternative comfort foods instead.
- Lasagna – This Italian delicacy is a crowd pleaser because it’s flavorful and meaty.
- Chicken noodle soup – This is a famous comfort food especially during cold weather.
- Mashed potatoes – Potatoes are creamy, buttery, and satisfying.
Instead of bugging yourself with the question “How do I cheer up my friend?”, why not ask? If your friend is the one who’s calling, pick up. And let them talk.
Talking about emotions works wonders — and heals sadness. In fact, one kind of talking therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, is 50-75% effective against depression and anxiety.
Wondering what you and your friend should talk about? Consider these:
- “The” problem – Do they feel like their life sucks? If so, remind them they can make life better — and you’re always willing to help.
- What they want to do – Ask them how they plan to overcome their problem. Then offer to help.
- Anything they want – Let it be up to them. If they don’t want to talk about themselves, respect that.
7. Invite them to watch sitcoms
Timeless comedies like The Twilight Zone, I Dream of Jeannie, and The Three Stooges can cheer up your friend. Try Friends, The Office, and That ‘70s Show if you prefer something modern. The list goes on!
It’s also a splendid idea to pick a sitcom based on the sadness that your friend is going through. Or, use their preferred brand of humor as the basis. This way, they could watch something relatable.
Let’s say, they’re into political satire. Thus, a good option is to check out episodes of Parks and Recreation.
8. Invite to an outdoor adventure
Ask your loved one to hang out with you outside. It can help them see life from a fresh perspective.
Something as simple as walking around and having a picnic outdoors can uplift them. If both of you are fit enough, go hiking, canoeing, or rock climbing.
Going outdoors can also benefit your mental health. It elevates your mood, improves focus, and reduces stress.
9. Start a project together
This would help keep your friend occupied. And the more occupied they are, the less they’ll think about the negative emotions bringing them down.
Here are project ideas for the two of you:
- Blog – Got in-depth knowledge about a common subject? Then create a place where you can talk non-stop and share it.
- Non-profit organization – If you feel strongly about something, turn it into a cause.
- New hobby – Knitting, gardening, or collecting things might not be hobbies you and your friend are into. Why not try them out, though?
10. Tag them in hilarious memes
“Laughter is the best medicine”, goes the traditional saying. So apart from sitcoms, make your loved one laugh with memes, too.
If you guys are on Facebook, for example, use “@” before their name to tag them.
Here are the memes you should know about:
These are memes that withstood the test of time. They were funny when they first came out — and until today, they still are hilarious.
Like this one:
Social media memes
See those funny screenshots that emphasize the best threads on particular social media networks? They also feature notable users and posts.
Here’s one from Tumblr:
Reading these memes is like reading an unforgettable story. And what you get are loads of laughter.
Here’s an example:
The most important thing here is to not lose sight of the fact that your friend is unique.
You can cheer them up with the aforementioned ways, sure. However, don’t take it the wrong way if they don’t respond as you expected.
Respect them for how they are. If all they need is space, then be ready to give it to them.