When your phone buzzes so many times that you think you’re getting a phone call, only to realize it’s a string of text messages from your bestie, you know it’s something serious. Just like how expressing your feelings over text can be difficult, figuring out how to make someone feel better over text can be a challenge. Without the tone and subtle emotional cues that an IRL conversation provides, a lot can be lost in translation. While a thumbs down reaction to a sad text message is definitely not enough, a massive chunk of sympathetic jargon might be too much. So, how do you show support for your friend over text? According to clinical psychologist Caroline Fleck, Ph.D, the key to being a responsible recipient of textual feels is validation.
“With validation, you're looking to communicate that you're there for the other person, you get that their emotions are valid or understandable, and you care,” Fleck tells Bustle. “Attending to these elements is what ultimately translates as support.” Even if their situation hasn’t changed, feeling supportive can make them feel better.