Two hands outstretched to each other but not touching. Photo by Kevin Escate on Unsplash

Due to work, personal, and other commitments, we can't always be physically near the people we care about.

These relationships are harder to maintain because as much as we want to, we can't support our loved ones in-person.

However, with the right amount of time and effort, there are many ways to support someone when you cannot be there for them physically.

1. Listen to them

An old man saying

The first step to supporting someone is to listen to them through text or a phone call.

Create a safe space for them to talk about what they are going through by withholding your opinion and judgment until they are done talking.

Listening strengthens relationships because it shows that you're caring, empathetic, and attentive. It shows that you're there for whatever they're going through.

For example, if a friend had a tough day at work, focus on talking through their feelings and empathizing with their situation. Try not to interject with your own opinions until later.


Your sibling who lives far away is grieving the loss of someone close to them. When addressing the situation for the first time, what should you NOT do?

2. Text them

A couple sending texts with hearts to each other.

When you can't be there for someone physically, text messages are one way to connect with them regardless of location or timezone.

Here are some suggestions of what to say to support someone going through a tough time:

  • "Just checking in. How are you doing?"

  • "I'm here for you. Let me know if you want to talk about it."

  • "I know you are hurting. How best can I support you?"

You could also include a virtual hug GIF to mimic a real hug!

A graphic depicting a virtual hug GIF. The text reads,

3. Call them

A coffee mug beside a laptop featuring a Zoom video call. Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Just because you aren't there in-person, doesn't mean you can't see your loved ones physically! Phone and video calls help you connect with someone virtually.

Many calling apps like FaceTime and Messenger also support more fun ways to connect with your loved ones from afar by:

  • Playing games

  • Watching videos in real-time

  • Trying funny facial filters

For example, next time your significant other is having a down day, you could suggest a "virtual date" where you play video games and watch funny YouTube videos to lighten the mood.

4. Send them a gift

Someone greeted by a Facebook like button holding flowers.

If you know your loved one's address, one way to reach out is to send them a gift to show your support for them.

With online shopping websites and food delivery apps, you can send a physical reminder of your support to someone going through a tough time.

Depending on their interests, you may consider sending them:

  • A takeaway comfort meal

  • A hobby item (like a movie, book, video game, etc.)

  • A self-care box (with candles, skincare, etc.)

  • A stuffed animal they can hug


Your friend who lives abroad got into a huge argument with their significant other. How could you show your support?

Take Action

Patrick the star saying

Long distance relationships are hard.

As much as you want to be there in-person, try these strategies to support someone without physically being there for them:


Your feedback matters to us.

This Byte helped me better understand the topic.

Get support to take action on this Byte