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How to Comfort a Man

Understanding how to comfort a man can be challenging because he doesn’t express himself the same way a woman does. In addition, he may not want you to know that he is upset much less, ask for help. By following these guidelines you will see that you can, in fact, comfort him by meeting him at his level.

Part One of Three:
Understanding a Man Under Stress

  1. 1
    Know how men tend to respond to stress. A man often responds to stress differently from a woman. Women tend to seek friends out to talk things out. A man on the other hand, may isolate or withdraw. For example, he may start watching TV more than usual or visit the gym for hours at a time. However he responds to stress, remember, every man is different. Some possible ways that a man may respond to stress are:[1]
    • Avoiding situations. He may try to stay away from places or people that trigger his stress.
    • Creating problems to mask stress. Although counterproductive, a man may create problems to avoid the real issue or to have a greater sense of control.
    • Being angry. Men tend to express anger more easily than other emotions since it is more socially accepted. He may become easily frustrated or start to yell.
    • Blaming others. Because men tend to externalize, a man may blame others for his problems to avoid the feelings of stress.
    • Increasing physical activity. A man may begin to exercise more, play sports or engage in other physical activities to release tension.
  2. 2
    Don’t take it personally. If a man you're in a relationship with has isolated somewhat, it could be because there is something (unrelated to you) on his mind. Remember, don’t jump to conclusions such as, “He doesn’t like me anymore,” “I did something wrong,” or worse “He’s breaking up with me!” Many men are used to holding things in and not talking things out. Overreacting to his isolation could lead him to distance himself even more.
  3. 3
    Don’t be overly helpful. Of course you want to comfort a man with whom you have a relationship and show him you care, but use caution. When you try to be helpful by offering solutions or doing things for him, this could make him feel emasculated. Asking him over and over again, "What's wrong" What's wrong? Why won't you let me help you?" will have a negative effect and he may begin to resent you. A better approach is to simply offer support and understanding without actually trying to solve his problem.
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Part 1 Quiz

What should you do if you see your man is experiencing stress?

Not exactly! Because men and women often manage stress differently, asking a man what's wrong may stress him further and cause him to put more distance between you. There are better approaches to take. Try again...

Not necessarily! If he asks for your thoughts or solutions, of course, offer them. Still, there may be no solution and consistently talking about it may bother him. You'll want to try another approach. There’s a better option out there!

That's right! Unless he asks for more, offering your support and understanding is the best way to show your man you care without further upsetting him. Simply let him know you'll be there to talk if and when he wants to. Read on for another quiz question.

Nope! If your man starts to act distant or withdrawn, it's natural to assume that your actions may have caused it. Most likely, it has nothing to do with you, so don't worry! Still, asking if it's your fault can actually stress him further, which you want to avoid. Click on another answer to find the right one...

Part Two of Three:
Showing Him You Care

  1. 1
    Offer support. This can be tricky because some men want support by having companionship while others just want space. Overall, a man wants to know that you are on his side. He also wants to know that he can count on you as a source of relief. Try offering to listen should he wish to talk. If you think something is bothering him, bring up the topic in a nonthreatening way.
    • You might ask, “I’ve noticed you seem a little preoccupied lately, is there something different happening at work?” Many will not volunteer to openly talk about their problem, but some will if asked.[2]
    • If he asks for space, don’t take it personal. Once he clears his head, he might be more willing to reach out to you now that he knows you are there for support.
  2. 2
    Listen carefully. A man may or may not choose to share what’s on his mind. Unfortunately, some men tend to associate talking about feelings with weakness. If he decides to talk, listen openly without interruption. Try to avoid offering solutions or giving advice, unless he asks. Stay away from making trite comments such as, “You’ll get over it,” or “Don’t worry about it.” Comments such as these are non constructive and only hurt because they diminish his feelings.[3]
    • If he doesn’t wish to speak, sit with him quietly. A gentle question or two might help, but don’t badger.
    • Don’t bring up his struggles or stressors. If he wishes to discuss these, he’ll bring them up on his own.
  3. 3
    Allow him to express himself in his own way. As mentioned earlier, some men react to stress by feeling the need to be strong or active. Such responses are okay so long as he is not ignoring the real issue. Give him permission to respond with anger, or to be more cognitive or analytical, or if grieving, to not cry. Don’t minimize his feelings but do point out realities and offer hope. All of these typical masculine responses may help him cope; there is no "right" way to express feelings.
    • Don’t set a timeframe on his feelings and don’t expect him to express himself a certain way. Let him take the lead.
  4. 4
    Make it clear to him that it’s okay to not feel okay. Unfortunately, because of societal conditioning, many men believe that feeling sad or scared is sign of weakness. Reassure him by informing him that all feelings are part of being human. There is no "good" feelings or "bad" feelings. Remind him that you do not think less of him even if he doesn’t feel okay.

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Part 2 Quiz

What kind of statements should you avoid when comforting a man?

Not exactly! Many men feel conditioned to hide their emotions, so they'll push down the things that are upsetting them. You don't need to press the point, but letting the man know that his feelings are valid can be helpful. Pick another answer!

That's right! Society has already made many men feel like they should hide their emotions. Statements like "don't worry about it" or "you'll get over it" reinforce the idea that his feelings don't matter, which is, of course, not the truth. Read on for another quiz question.

Not quite! Many men deal with their emotions in solitude, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Giving the man the option to be alone or to be with you can help to show that you support him during a difficult time. Click on another answer to find the right one...

Try again! You do want to be careful when asking a question like this. Too much badgering or asking can make him close off even more. Still, asking once and then stepping back can show you support him and are there if he needs to talk. Guess again!

Part Three of Three:
Cheering Him Up

  1. 1
    Build up his ego and point out his strengths. Let him know that you admire him and appreciate all of the good in him. Show him that you value him just as much, even if he is going through a tough time. Giving him unconditional positive regard will reassure him that he can count on you even when he’s not feeling his best.
  2. 2
    Fix his favorite meals. Take his mind off his stress, at least for a short while, as he wolfs down his favorite plate of lasagna. Include dishes with protein and carbohydrates, as these increase serotonin levels and produce a calming effect in the body.[4]
  3. 3
    Present him with a stress-relief gift basket. Include some of his favorite chips, nuts, and crackers. Consider adding chocolate as this tends to bring a smile to most faces. As an added bonus, include a bottle of massage oil with a gift certificate for a free massage.
  4. 4
    Offer to give him a massage. He will be extremely grateful if you give him a relaxing massage to ease his tension. It is scientifically proven that a massage relaxes the mind by improving blood flow. Physical touch shows that you care and can help increase his low mood[5]
  5. 5
    Invite him out. Many men like to cope with stress by staying active. Without ignoring his problem, suggest going for a walk, game, or any other social activity. If he refuses, gently insist. Distracting him a bit from his problems might go along way in comforting him.[6]
  6. 6
    Stay in touch. If he is going through a crisis and wants space, it might help to keep in contact with him. For example, offer to call him once a week. Knowing that you will call might bring him comfort and lift his spirits. However often you decide to check in, keep your word and follow through.
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Part 3 Quiz

If your man doesn't want to go out, you should:

Not necessarily! Solitude can be a good way to cope, for a while. Still, there are benefits to getting away from home and his problems. There’s a better option out there!

Try again! This depends largely on the man and the circumstances. He may or may not want to talk to you, but simply not wanting to go out doesn't mean he will. Guess again!

Not exactly! Cooking his favorite meal can be a great way to cheer your man up. Still, it may not be the best course of action if he doesn't want to go out. Choose another answer!

That's right! It may feel a little like pulling teeth but do your best to get your man to go out with you, to dinner, a movie or simply on a walk. A short distraction from his problems can be a huge help. Read on for another quiz question.

Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • How can I comfort him when he's sick or not feeling well?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Visit him at home. You can bring him some hot soup or some funny films to cheer him up. Ask him what he needs in order to feel better.
    Thanks! 27 4
  • How can I comfort my boyfriend when he is tired from work?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Ask him what he wants to do to take his mind off of it, maybe make him dinner and have a chill night in. If he wants to vent about work, listen to him, but if he doesn't want to talk about it, don't pressure him.
    Thanks! 16 2
  • How do I comfort my crush when he's upset?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Just say you understand completely what he is going through and that if he needs a friend to listen, your wholly there for him, no judgment, no advice unless asked for.
    Thanks! 46 13
  • How am I supposed to know when to take men seriously or not?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • If you know his type of humor/way he acts, you should be able to determine if he is being serious or not. You can also ask him, saying: "I cannot tell if you're being serious or not. Do you really mean what you've just said?".
    Thanks! 14 3
  • How can I comfort my crush who has a broken heart?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • The best thing you can do is to be there with him. Don't constantly bring it up. He may keep asking for advice and you may become more of a therapist than a romantic interest.
    Thanks! 13 3
  • How should I comfort him when he has a nightmare and he calls me about it?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Tell him that it was only a dream and try to help him relax. Suggest that he have a drink of water and maybe read a book until he's tired again.
    Thanks! 20 6
  • How can I comfort a man if his mom is dying?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • He may want some space. Never say you understand, as you may not. Let him talk about his mother to you and compliment her personality and what a great son she has.
    Thanks! 10 2
  • How do I comfort my father when he's sick?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Tell him you love him and watch television with him.
    Thanks! 9 2
  • How can I comfort my boyfriend when we are in a long distance relationship?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • The best you can do is to stay in touch. Text him often or video chat. If possible, make plans to visit him once every year or so.
    Thanks! 10 3
  • How do I comfort a man who is ALWAYS stressed (about things not concerning me that can't be undone)?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Try to take his mind off his problems. Get him to relax, make jokes, watch a funny movie with him, etc. If he wants to talk about it, listen to him, but gently remind him that what's done is done, and he is only hurting himself by being continually upset about it. A professional therapist might be a good option for this man as well, depending on the nature of the stress.
    Thanks! 2 0
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  • Remember, you are not responsible to “fix” him. You can offer support, but ultimately, it is up to him to get better.
    1 Helpful?  0


  • If he threatens or attempts suicide, or is abusing alcohol or drugs, suggest that he seek psychiatric help immediately.
    55 Helpful?  12

About This Article

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Reader Success Stories

  • A


    May 28, 2017

    "I had prepared his favorite meal, but wasn't too sure on going ahead to invite him over because I know he needs space (he has a deadline). Now I'll still go ahead and give him the meal, but this time it'll be packed. ;)"..." more
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    Aug 11, 2017

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    May 28, 2017

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    Dec 17, 2016

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    Aug 13, 2016

    "I asked my male friend if this could be true, and he concurred."
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    Jul 4, 2016

    "It worked, and it made him feel so much better."
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