It’s heartbreaking to see a friend feel bad about themselves, right?
I remember going on holiday with a friend a few years back – she’s always suffered from low self-esteem, but during this particular period in her life, she felt extremely low about herself.
I knew I couldn’t change her life drastically in the few days we were away, but I could do small, simple things to help her see herself in a different, more positive light.
So, if you’re going through the same thing with someone dear to you in your life, read on.
Here are 12 simple ways to make someone instantly feel better about themselves:
1) Only offer genuine compliments
It might feel like a good idea to shower your friend with compliments, everything from their hair to the way they spread butter on toast.
But this is actually counterproductive.
The more “superficial” compliments you give, the less genuine they’ll seem.
Instead, focus on areas you think will really benefit your friend to hear.
“You’re a really good friend, I admire the way you make an effort for people in your life.”
“I love the way you tackle problems head-on, it’s taught me a different way to overcome life’s hurdles.”
This will mean a lot to the other person, and remind them of their good qualities.
2) Ask about their life
If you know someone is feeling down, don’t avoid talking about the issues they’re experiencing.
Ask them about it.
Show an interest.
This tells them that you care. It may also help them to get things off their chest and talk it through with someone else.
You can offer different perspectives, advice, and a shoulder they can lean on.
Just knowing that they have your support will make them feel better about themselves and life in general.
3) Listen actively
Once you’ve asked someone about their life, it’s important to show that you’re fully engaged in what they’re saying.
To actively listen, you need to:
- Put away distractions (don’t check your phone or keep one eye on the TV while they speak)
- Maintain eye-contact
- Avoid interrupting them
- Ask follow-up questions to better understand them
The truth is, listening, and I mean really listening, is a powerful way to make people feel better about themselves.
It lets them know that what they have to say is indeed important and that they’re worthy of being heard.
4) Validate their feelings
Now, once you’ve listened to them and allowed them to talk about whatever is making them feel down, validate them.
This can be done by simply acknowledging their feelings and letting them know that they’re right to feel that way.
Even if you don’t necessarily agree, or you’d handle the situation differently, a part of showing empathy is understanding that everyone deals with hardship differently.
So rather than dismiss their feelings or use fake positivity to make them feel better, try to simply acknowledge and validate their emotions.
5) Focus on common ground
During my few days away with my friend, I came to realize that she looked at me and thought, “That woman has it all, she’s always confident and sure of herself.”
I know, because she said words to that effect.
That’s when I realized that I needed to show her that having insecurities is normal.
And just because I may come across as confident, it doesn’t mean I have my own internal battles going on.
So when she would share something, I shared in return, often focussing on our similarities.
This helped her recognize that she’s not alone in her feelings and that we all go through ups and downs.
I like to think this helped her a lot, and I have no doubt it strengthened our friendship. But in order to achieve this, you need to:
6) Be open and vulnerable about yourself
That’s right – if you want to make someone instantly feel better about themselves, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
You see when you talk about your own hardships and struggles in life, the other person will feel like they can connect better with you.
They’ll also get that important reminder that they aren’t alone.
And above all, you may offer a different perspective that could help them with their own battles.
Just one thing – try not to overshadow them. Don’t make every conversation about you, just share when you feel is appropriate.
7) Be positive and uplifting
Another simple way to make someone instantly feel better about themselves is by being a positive force of energy in their life.
My friend told me after our trip that I really helped lift her spirits by being happy and bubbly.
I’m certainly not like that all the time, but I recognized that she needed me to be her strength.
So, I chose to look on the bright side of life, encouraged us to go on adventures, and in general, looked at life through rose-tinted glasses.
Give it a go – they say energy is contagious, and your happiness might just spark something in your friend.
8) Express gratitude
When was the last time you told this person how grateful you are to have them in your life?
Often, it’s these small expressions that mean the most to people, so don’t be afraid to get personal and sentimental.
Not all the time, of course, but from time to time, it should help boost your friend’s feelings about themselves.
For one, they’ll feel appreciated. And more than that, they’ll feel valued.
And if this type of stuff doesn’t come naturally to you, write a little note and slip it in their pocket. They’ll feel great for days after finding it.
9) Have a laugh
I often find that having a laugh with someone when they’re feeling bad about themselves can go a long way in helping cheer them up.
It helps to lighten the mood, and as they say, laughter is the best medicine.
For those moments while they’re having a chuckle, they’re not thinking about themselves or their life.
They’re present in the moment, simply enjoying your company.
Not to mention, when they go home, there’s a good chance those happy hormones released by laughing continue cursing through their body.
10) Avoid calling out every mistake
I get how frustrating it is to see someone make a mistake and not say anything about it.
But when you’re dealing with someone who already feels crap about themselves, pointing out their every error will only make them feel worse.
Does it really matter if they wash the dishes with cold water instead of hot?
Or if they leave the toilet seat up instead of down?
Of course, if they’re about to do something detrimental to their health you should talk to them about it.
But leave the petty stuff alone for now.
11) Give them a small gift
The reason I say a “small” gift is because it’s the thought put behind it that will instantly make the other person feel better about themselves.
It doesn’t need to be grand or expensive.
Ultimately, they’ll be surprised that you’ve gone to the effort of getting them something.
They’ll feel special that they were on your mind.
And when they take their gift home and look at it in a couple of days’ time, they’ll remember that someone out there in the world cared enough to do this for them.
12) Remind them of their importance in the world
And finally, let them know how valued they are.
I had to remind my friend that she was so loved by her family. Her nephews look up to her immensely. Her sister admires her. Her friends enjoy spending time with her.
She was also kicking ass at her job.
It was a small reminder but I think it had a big impact.
She had forgotten many of the positives in her life because she was so focused on the negatives.
But through our many conversations, she came to understand that the way she sees herself isn’t necessarily how everyone else views her.
That alone ensured that she went home with more bounce to her step than when she arrived.
So, I hope these tips above will help you make someone else feel better about themselves.
It’s a lovely thing to build someone up and increase their confidence, and who knows, maybe one day you’ll need this and a friend will do the same for you!