How to Give Non Verbal Encouragement

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How to Give Non Verbal Encouragement
Wink to express encouragment. (clin d'oeil,homme image by yam from

When someone you care about needs a boost of encouragement, a verbal expression is not the only way to convey support. Show friends you are on their side in any situation with the use of non-verbal encouragement. Let your friends know you care and that you are standing with them in tense public moments or private times when words are not enough. Use non-verbal encouragement if you are unable to think of the appropriate thing to say to make a friend feel better.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Show someone that you are in agreement or that you sympathise with him by establishing eye contact and smiling. Let your facial expression, coupled with a steady gaze, convey solidarity on occasions when speaking is inappropriate. Wink at your friend to let him know you are there for him.

  2. 2

    Place your hand on a friend's arm or back to send a quiet message of encouragement. Maintain a steady, gentle touch if the situation is right for prolonged contact. Opt for a quick squeeze on the shoulder or pat on the back if you have only a moment to show non-verbal encouragement.

  3. 3

    Gesture to give encouragement without saying a word. Boost a friend's confidence with a thumbs-up gesture or by clapping to provide a one-man round of applause. Bring your hand to your forehead then pull it down and away quickly to salute, demonstrating approval and friendly camaraderie.

  4. 4

    Wrap your arms around a friend and draw her to you in a hug. Use an encouraging hug in times of joy or sorrow to express bonds of friendship. Hug friends to help them feel shored up when they are sad and to share delight in happy moments.

Tips and warnings

  • Don't hug or touch someone who is uncomfortable with you doing so. Respect boundaries. Choose encouraging facial expressions or gestures instead.

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