“Let me know if you need anything.”  How many times have we heard that phrase?  Many people use it as a form of sympathy or concern.  But does that statement really have any value if you don’t do anything?  So what should we say when some faces hardships that are unexpected?  Here are my top ten phrases and/or questions I think we could use when someone faces a crisis:

  1. What do you need? This causes the receiver to actually think about what they need in that moment.  It also lets the receiver know that you’re willing to help out no matter what.  For instance, if the person asks for something you can’t deliver, then you can always suggest another person or help them find resources to get the help that they truly need.
  2. How is your family supporting you? This question captures their current family dynamics without being intrusive.  It lets you know whether or not you need increase your interaction as friend, coworker, lover, etc.
  3. Do you have (health/life)insurance? Now, this question is tricky. Depending on the type of crisis, I would think that the only person that would ask this question is a confidant and not a comrade nor a constituent.  This question brings reality into focus.  It helps the receiver think of an actionable plan and get out of the denial stage.
  4. How do you get better?  If the response is “I don’t know,” this person has given up.  That’s my opinion.  There is so much information out there for people to gain it’s truly amazing.  Back to my point.  A red flag should go up when you get a response of “I don’t know”.  First, think about whether or not you want to cradle this person to wellness.  Then, if you want to cradle that person, more power to you.  The person on the receiving end must put in some effort in finding ways to get better, even if it’s just one piece of knowledge that they have gained during this crisis.
  5. What have you been doing?  This may seem like a generic question but it is truly powerful.  This question holds the receiver accountable.  The response of this question will show you whether or not this person is truly on the road to recovery.  It also gives you some insight of that person’s perspective of the ordeal.  Those perspectives are the following.  First, it can show whether or not the person is in denial.  Second, it can show you if this person is on the road to destruction and never wants to recover.  Lastly, it can also show you that this person is taking ownership about getting better.
  6. You’re a fighter.  The fact that the person has told you means that they don’t want to fight alone.  It also means that they may have been fighting alone for some time.  This person probably has never faced a HUGE crisis like this in their life.  They have seen other people but never envisioned themselves in this particular situation.  Based upon a person’s previous history, you know whether or not it is in them to fight past a defining crisis.  If their track record has proven that they’re a fighter, tell them!
  7. Your belief will determine your outcome.  Now this can be taken as spiritual or mental.  If a person doesn’t believe that things will get better, then hope has truly escaped.  You can give that person all the money in the world, all the hugs, all the encouragement, etc.  But if they don’t believe, it’s pretty much a done deal.
  8. Things will get better/easier. This statement you should save only if you been through the same EXACT situation as the person.  You could also use this statement if your willing to link this person to someone that is in the same situation as them.
  9. Let’s pray. Can I pray for you? If you know this person and know their belief system, then YES! Why not pray in that moment? Also, if you ask the person and they decline, that is fine too.  It is okay for someone to decline to pray.  Let it be their choice and not yours.  However, take full advantage of that moment.  If you feel compelled to pray, then pray!
  10. Don’t give up on life!  This statement is an extension of a few the previous statements.  You’d be surprised of how this statement can shift a person’s mindset.  The fact that you gathered enough boldness to share this with them reminds them that you believe in them.  Even if they don’t believe in themselves at that moment.  It is truly a choice to live in the moment.  Continue to remind them to LIVE!

I hope this sheds some light of what to say when someone we love faces a crisis.  Lastly, if you don’t remember these questions and/or statements, then don’t say anything.  Silence is so much better than giving false hope.  During a crisis is when people need hope the most.


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