How to Cheer Someone Up: 18 Ways To Make Someone Happy

Rachel Sharpe
Rachel Sharpe

How to cheer someone up when they’re upset, sad, or disappointed. One of life’s biggest questions. Deep down, you know that there’s a way for you to connect to this person to make them feel happier. But maybe you’re struggling to come up with ideas. Or perhaps you feel like you’re trying everything but somehow choosing the wrong things. We’ve all been there. In this article, we’ll share how to cheer someone up. Some of these ideas are small (for the people who want you to do less– some of you know who I’m talking about). And some of these ideas are a bit more extravagant for the person who needs that extra big push towards happiness. Not all ideas will work for all situations or people. So be mindful when choosing the appropriate suggestion to cheer someone up. 

How to Cheer Someone Up: 18 Ways to Make Someone Happy

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1. Write Them A Card

Closeup of two stamped cards in envelopes

If your goal is to cheer someone up, mail them a card. Let the card be a surprise. Within the card, write down all the reasons why you think that person is incredible. It’s a great way to make the person feel special and appreciated. It’ll likely be kept as a memento for years to come. If the person who needs cheering up typically doesn’t get mail, this will be a pleasant surprise for them. You can also include in the card some funny jokes. If it’s around the holiday season, you can send them a holiday card with some silly holiday-themed jokes to lighten the mood a bit.

2. Surprise Them With A Gift

During the COVID-19 self-isolation, someone recently shipped cheesecakes to the homes of various family members to cheer them up. The cheesecake price was much lower than sending flowers, which made it a cost-effective option. Plus, everyone was pleasantly surprised. Since no one was able to have guests over or see loved ones, it gave them something delicious to look forward to. The note included a funny message that said, “Even though we’re apart, I’ll never dessert you. Hope you have a sweet weekend.” You can personalize the gift to the person, but a delicious treat is always appreciated. 

3. Replace Their Negative Thoughts

When you want to cheer someone up, it’s essential to help them recognize their thought process. Most people cycle these negative repetitive thoughts in their heads. It’s important to call that out, so they don’t make themselves worse. When someone has a doomsday thought, tell them that they’re catastrophizing so that they see what they’re doing. And if possible, say one positive thing they’re doing for every negative thing they tell you. People tend to hear negativity louder than positivity, so the more positive things you tell them, the more likely that one of those things will stick. You might even share some happy thoughts with them.

4. Tell Them You Love Them

Four hands forming letters to spell out "love"

When it comes to cheering someone up, you’ll want to tell them you love them. People sometimes feel alone or lonely. Letting them know you care will cheer someone up. You can tell people you love them in a million ways. You can use the words “I love you” as a starting point. You can do a kind gesture that shows someone you care about them. You can hug them or show physical affection, such as resting your hands on their shoulders. Some people tell people they love them by making or buying a gift for others. Or you can tell someone you love them by spending more time with them since time is the most limited possession you own. 

5. Remind Them Of Happy Memories

When someone needs some cheering up, you can remind them of happy memories. The goal of sharing happy memories with them should be a reminder that things get better with them and that bad times are temporary. If they’ve lost a loved one, you can share happy memories they’ve had with that person. Or you can remind them of funny stories you two have been through together. You can send them silly pictures of the two of you to lighten the mood to cheer them up. 

6. Hear Them Out

Sometimes the best way to cheer someone up is to simply listen to them. People often want to feel heard. So, by all means, don’t say cheer up to help cheer someone up. That doesn’t work. Instead, focus on mirroring what they say. If someone says, “My husband filed for divorce.” Tell them which feeling you hear. For example, “You seem sad.” And let them elaborate on how they feel. Mirror the feelings and words they say to let them know that you hear what they’re telling you. Avoid giving advice; just lend the listening ear. 

7. Throw a Dance Party

In some cases, a dance party is an inappropriate way to cheer someone up, so sense the tone of the situation. However, if someone is going through a break-up, a bad day, or just a small hiccup in their life, a dance party may be in order. It might just be the two of you dancing your cares away. However, dancing will perk your friend up with those feel-good endorphins. And that’ll help them feel a bit better. Plus, it shows them a healthy way of managing a bad situation. 

8. Create a 100 Reasons List

Journal with pencil sitting on table

One of the ways you can cheer someone up is to create a 100 reasons why you love them list. It’ll take a lot of time and energy to come up with a list that long, which makes this gesture even more appreciated. If you did this for all your loved ones, you’d be cheering people up that you didn’t even know needed cheering up. Everyone goes through their battles, after all. Another way to do this, which is much easier, is to create mason jars for friends and family. Every time they do something awesome, add it to the jar. You can start this at any time. You can give it to them when they go through a tough time or at the end of the year with the holiday season. 

9. Invite Them Over

When you need to cheer someone up, the best way to do that is to invite them over. If someone feels lonely or depressed, responding to texts won’t cheer them up as much as an in-person conversation would. You can invite them over for tea or coffee to just chat about their situation. All you need to do is offer a listening ear. Sometimes that means more to people than doing something outrageous to take their mind off things. But, I’m not gonna lie, there have been times when I’ve invited upset friends over for a two-person Taylor Swift dance party, and they have felt better immediately after. 

10. Practice a Loving Kindness Meditation

If you want to cheer someone up, you can recommend Declutter The Mind’s Loving Kindness meditation. Your friend will practice sending to him or herself, to a stranger, to someone they care about, and to a difficult person. It’s not always easy to practice compassion for people who’ve wronged us or hurt us, but these little practices help make us more empathic to people in general. We never know all the events that led to shaping someone as they are. And sometimes, it’s those who’ve hurt us that need the most love.  

11. Do An Act of Kindness For Them

In one of my previous articles, I compiled a list of 150+ acts of kindness you can do to help show compassion towards others. I still come back to that article whenever I want to find a new kind act that I can do for others. And one day soon, I’ll add to that list to make it even longer. Your act of kindness can be as simple as sending them one positive message every day until they cheer up. You can also create a jar where you add little notes of all your favorite things about them and give it to them as a gift. Listening to them is a great way for them to feel heard and loved. Showing up at their home with a care package and a coffee can also brighten their day. You can reach out to your mutual friends and family members and ask them all to send that person a positive message telling them how amazing they are. So many ideas, pick one that you think would work best for them.

12. Remind Them Of What They’re Grateful For

Woman holding up portrait with the word "Give thanks." on it.

Helping a friend come up with a gratitude list when they’re struggling to see the good in the world can help improve their perspective. Yup, sometimes life sucks. But even on those dark days, there’s still so much good in your life and in the world around you. Your friend or loved one might’ve lost something they loved dearly, but they still have so many things that they cherish. It might be a good idea to buy them a gratitude journal. Most recommend listing between 3-5 things you’re grateful for each day. This can be a good practice to help someone cheer up while helping them take ownership for their wellbeing. 

13. Help Them Reimagine Their Future

If you’re trying to learn how to cheer someone up, half the battle is reworking their mind. The problem lies in their catastrophizing. They imagine that their world is going to be much worse than it was before. Their current situation results in them feeling hopeless. But things can and often do get better. Widowers can find love again. People who’ve been fired do get hired again. Failed relationships bring you closer to successful ones. Those who fall ill can learn to find peace in the chaos of their health. We all eventually heal from our loss, failures, mistakes, and setbacks. So aim to help them reimagine a new and brighter future. 

14. Tag Them In Funny Videos

It can be hard to cheer someone up, but I find sharing funny videos can help. The internet and social media are filled with funny viral videos. And there are some topics that are safer than others. Viral videos of pets doing silly things often helps cheer people up– as long as they aren’t grieving the loss of a pet, of course. You can look for an appropriate funny video that isn’t about their situation or anything sensitive that makes them laugh. If you find a video that you know they’d think is hilarious, send it their way. 

15. Hug Them Until They Laugh

Have you ever hugged someone until they laughed? No? Then, you’ve definitely not hugged them long enough. Studies show that hugging releases oxytocin– the looove hormone. And while the Scrooge’s of the world hate affection, they’re often the ones that need it the most. So if you have a chance to cheer someone up, give them a hug. You can joke that you’re only gonna hug for a few more seconds longer, give them an extra squeeze, or do a dance while you hug them. But ultimately, those long, playful hugs can help cheer someone up. Feel the room when doing this. If someone pushes you away, give them the space they need. 

16. Go For A Walk

Woman walking outside with her daughter.

The best way to cheer someone up is to head outside, in the fresh air, for a long walk/heart to heart. To make someone happy, you’ll need to remind them that there’s a world world outside. This is especially true for those who are suffering from depression. You need to get those nocturnal vampires out in the sun but you can skip the garlic. Take them for a walk by the water, sit on a park bench, show them what the outside world is like. I used to give all my heart to hearts in cemeteries. It helps remind people that their story is still unfinished and there’s so much life to live in the meantime. Try a mindful walking practice with a friend if you want to try something new.

17. Give Them A Distraction

Men and women approach problems differently. Women tend to ruminate on their problems. Men tend to distract themselves. And while it may seem like distraction is a bad approach, men move on from their problems much quicker than women who are cycling those thoughts round and round like a laundry machine. So rather than talking it out, you might choose to give them a distraction. Maybe you ask them to play video games with you and you just hang out playing, avoiding the difficult topic and having fun. Or maybe you pull out a board game and invite friends or family to play with you. Let them know that if they wanna talk, they can, but if they just want to enjoy the game you can do that too. 

18. Be Their Servant For A Day

One way to cheer someone up is to come dressed up in your finest suit or dress to be someone’s butler for the day. This can be especially helpful for a new mom with postpartum depression or someone grieving a death in their family. You can tell them to sit with company while you clean their house, cook them food, answer doors, and be at their beck and call the entire day. They’ll likely refuse your request at first, but if you dress the part they might laugh and appreciate the help after all. 

Conclusion

Now you’ve got 18 new ideas on how to cheer someone up. In case no one told you this today, it’s incredible that you’re willing to go through these lengths of Googling to find new ideas to make someone happy. But remember, everyone grieves losses, setbacks, mental health challenges, and life changes differently. While we gave you a starting point to help you cheer someone up, you’ll need to choose the appropriate gesture to share with them. For some people, you may need to do a few of these to help get them on the right path to a better mental state. Be patient with them. Be loving. Be kind. And we know you’re already all of those things. It’s important to let them grieve their way. All you can really do at this time is love them in a million different ways so that they don’t feel alone in their struggles. May your love cheer them up.

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