Have you ever tried to encourage and support a friend when they are going through an emotionally tough time? Maybe you know a work friend who is having a hard time at home as his partner is threatening to leave him, or your neighbour who recently lost her husband is feeling low and despondent so you pop round to see how she is feeling?

Have you noticed in these times just how important the words you use are? Are you one of those people who know instinctively what to say, what words to say to boost your friend’s morale or are you like the rest of us? You stumble and mumble your condolences and quietly wish you were somewhere else?

Knowing what to say, knowing what words to use to inspire, uplift and encourage someone who is low is challenging. You want to show your concern yet at the same time you dread putting your foot in it and making the situation worse. Everyone feels like that. I am sure that if you did a random poll amongst colleagues in your office, half of your colleagues can recall times when they thought they were offering sympathy and support when in reality their words had the opposite impact.

Why are words so important? Does it matter what you say when you try to support and encourage others? Surely any old words will do, or as the popular saying goes “it’s the thought that counts”.

If you are like me, you want to be a good friend, a supportive partner and shoulder to cry on for your children and loved ones. You recognise the power of words to motivate and inspire and deep down you hope that what you say does make a difference. You want your advice and thoughtful words to help boost your friend’s mood and make them feel better.