Self

11 Texts To Send A Friend When You’re Feeling Anxious

“I’m freaking out. Puppy pics?”

A person looks concerned as they sit in their home and look down at their phone. Texting a friend to ask for help when you're anxious can be hard, but having a script in your back pocket can help.
Catherine Falls Commercial/Moment/Getty Images

You’d rather spend an afternoon with your in-laws than text a friend when you’re anxious — because reaching out for support sucks. (Reality check: your bestie will probably love to hear from you and share their good vibes with you.) Figuring out what texts to send when you’re feeling anxious is tough, especially if you’ve gotten less-than-ideal responses in the past. But even if your BFF doesn’t have the *perfect* answer for you, texting your friends to ask for help is a first step to feeling better.

Freaking out about the fact that you’re freaking out is normal, says mental health counselor Lawrence Lovell, L.M.H.C. Just like anything else in a relationship, take it slow when you’re texting your friends when you’re anxious. Try something small — “Can you help me pick out what to wear tonight?” — and gradually build up to things like, “I think I need to break up with my partner and I’m panicking.” If crisis strikes and you haven’t been able to practice, try reminding yourself of that time you went to pick your friend up from the bar when they ran into their ex — friendship is a give and take, and you’ve given, so it’s your turn to take.

Be specific about what you want when you reach out, Dr. David Harari, M.D., director of behavioral health at K Health, suggests. That can subtly signal how your friend can help you — and you can rest assured that you’ve communicated clearly, which makes things easier on everyone involved. “Would you like emotional and verbal support, or would you prefer advice and guidance?” Dr. Harari asks. Answer the question for yourself, and let your friend know. A simple “Hey, this thing is happening — are you around to give me some advice?” will do the trick.

Dr. Harari says it’ll help to lead with the vibe of “I deserve comfort” rather than “I hate having to ask for help.” When your instinct is to say “Sorry for bothering you,” try “Thanks for talking this out with me” instead. It might feel cheesy, but Lovell says that positive self-talk like this can help you feel better about reaching out for support.

If what you’re going through feels too big to rely only on your friends, you can always text a crisis hotline — and Lovell recommends seeking professional help to bolster your support network. In the meantime, try one of these 11 texts to send your friends when you’re feeling anxious to ask for help.

1

“Do you have a minute for the environment? It’s me. I’m the environment.”

If your humor comes out when you’re anxious, you can always text your friend a line from a volunteer in a bright yellow vest canvassing on the street... and then proceed to pour your heart out.

2

“Hey, I’m feeling anxious. Can you send me a funny memory or photo?”

Dr. Harari suggests this one for when you don’t have the emotional capacity to get into it, but you want to be reminded that you have people — and hilarious puppy videos — in your corner.

3

“My confidence doesn’t exist right now. Can you please remind me that I’m not trash?”

When your self-esteem is shattered on the floor along with the job you just lost, your friends will be there to pick up the pieces. You’ve just got to let them know what’s up and ask for the boosts you need.

4

“I’m in a pretty bad space. Can you send me some affirmations please?”

Sometimes, you don’t need to vent — you just need someone you trust to tell you that you are not, in fact, a horrible person. Mmaybe after some affirmations, you’ll feel up to letting it all out.

5

“Wow, it’s been a rough few days/weeks… can I tell you about it?”

If you need to unload on your bestie, Dr. Harari recommends checking in first. It’ll put your friend in the right headspace to listen to you.

6

“Today sucks. Weird pics of your cat, please?”

Your friend’s pet is your emotional support animal. Chances are, they’ll have plenty of cat photos on hand and ready to go.

7

“Hi, can I get your opinion on something?”

If it feels too much to lead with all your feelings, Dr. Harari recommends going for the logistical approach. You might get into what’s really going on later, when you’re already talking and more at ease.

8

“Tell me you love me?”

If you and your friend are the types that end each conversation with “I love you” or some version of “you hang up first,” it’s probably safe to assume they won’t mind rushing to remind you how much they’re obsessed with you.

9

“I’m going through XYZ situation. What would you do?”

People are always flattered when you ask them for advice — it’s the greatest confirmation that they have their life together. Dr. Harari says that addressing the situation head-on with your friend can help you feel safer opening up to conversation.

10

“I’m freaking out. Can I call you?”

Way back in Ye Olden Days, you might have called right away. But if you’re more comfy texting first, you can definitely ask to hear their voice.

11

“[insert emoji here]”

Before the panic sets in, consider setting up an emoji system with your bestie. You can have a good time figuring out which emoji means “I hate everything please send me affirmations and raccoon videos stat” — that way, you won’t even have to type words when crisis mode hits.

If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.

Experts:

Lawrence Lovell, L.M.H.C., mental health counselor

Dr. David Harari, M.D., director of behavioral health at K Health