What to Do When You Miss Someone (Signs & Healthy Ways to Cope)

We’ve all been there, right? Staring at the last text message they sent or listening to their favorite song, feeling a pang of longing.

It’s perfectly human to miss someone, be it due to distance, a breakup, or even loss. This feeling can be bittersweet or sometimes just downright difficult. So, how do you navigate these emotional waters without losing yourself?

No need to worry — we’re here with efficient and healthy ways to help you cope.

Remember, it’s okay to miss someone, but it’s equally important to look after your own emotional well-being. So, get ready to explore, learn, and, most importantly, heal. After all, you’re not alone in this journey.

Understanding the Emotion of Missing Someone

When we experience the feeling of missing someone, it is often accompanied by a range of emotions, from sadness to happiness. By understanding these emotions and why they occur, you can better cope with missing someone in a healthy way.

Yearning and Longing

Yearning and longing are two feelings closely associated with missing someone. You may often find yourself wishing to be with the person you miss or wishing you could experience the moments you shared together again. This longing is a natural response to loss or separation.

Attachment theory suggests that longing for someone is rooted in the need for emotional bonds and safety with a caregiver. When these bonds are severed, you might experience an emotional response such as longing.

  • Attachment Theory is mostly applicable to infants and children.
  • According to Bowlby, there are three stages of separation anxiety observed in children when they are separated from their primary caregivers: protest, despair, and detachment.

(Reference: Bowlby, J. (1982). Attachment and loss: Vol. 1. Attachment.)

Grief and Sadness

Grief and sadness often go hand in hand with missing someone. When you lose a person or relationship that was important to you, it’s natural to feel a sense of loss and sadness.

This grief can manifest in various ways, such as:

  • Crying or feeling emotional when reminiscing about the person.
  • Feeling a heavy weight on your chest or a sense of sadness.
  • Experiencing a loss of appetite or difficulty sleeping.

Happiness and Sweet Memories

Though missing someone can be painful, it can also evoke feelings of happiness and sweet memories. Reflecting on the positive experiences you had with the person can help you cope with their absence in a positive and healthy way.

Remember, nostalgia plays a significant role in missing someone. Your brain, especially the hippocampus, retrieves, and processes memories, causing you to relive specific moments or emotions. It can be a helpful coping mechanism when missing someone.

(Reference: Routlege, C. (2016). Nostalgia: A psychological resource (Essays in social psychology).)

The Signs and Impact of Missing Someone

Emotional Signs

Missing someone is an emotional roller coaster, my friends. It’s a whirlwind of feelings that can twist your heart into all kinds of shapes. You can expect:

  • A sudden rush of sadness or a sense of emptiness. Think of it as an emotional void that you can’t quite fill up.
  • You might find yourself reminiscing more than usual. Those sweet-sour memories can hit you out of nowhere like a rogue wave at the beach.
  • A longing for reconnection. You can almost hear your heart whispering, “Hey, wouldn’t it be nice to talk to them again?”
  • Feelings of loneliness, even in a crowded room. It’s like you’re at a party, but your favorite dance partner is missing.

And let me tell you, these feelings are as real as they come. But remember, it’s okay to feel them. It’s okay to miss someone.

Physical Signs

Now, your body can also join the party and show signs that you’re missing someone. It can be quite the party pooper, to be honest. You might notice:

  • Changes in your sleep pattern. Maybe you’re having a tough time falling asleep, or you’re waking up in the middle of the night.
  • A decrease in appetite or, on the contrary, finding comfort in that extra slice of pizza.
  • A sudden bout of restlessness. It’s like your body is on a constant overdrive.
  • Unusual fatigue. You’re not just physically tired; it’s like your emotions had a workout too.

So yes, missing someone can be a full-body experience. Listen to your body; it’s trying to tell you something.

Social Signs

And how about your social life? Well, missing someone can make that a bit of a challenge too. You might find yourself:

  • Pulling back from social activities. Suddenly, Friday night at the bar doesn’t seem as appealing.
  • Experiencing difficulty in connecting with others. It’s like you’re speaking a different language.
  • Constantly talking about the person you miss. They’ve become the main character in your stories.
  • Comparing others to the person you miss. It’s not their fault they can’t brew coffee the way your person did, right?

Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s okay to take a rain check on that party. Your friends will understand.

Productivity Signs

And let’s not forget about productivity. Missing someone can sometimes feel like you’re walking through mud. You may notice:

  • Difficulty concentrating. Your mind seems to have a VIP seat for the person you miss.
  • Procrastination levels skyrocketing. Suddenly, cleaning your house seems less daunting than that work project.
  • A lack of motivation or interest. It’s like the color has drained from your usual activities.
  • An increase in mistakes. Those pesky little errors that sneak into your work.

But hey, it’s okay. We all have those days. Remember, it’s okay to ask for a break or seek help when you need it.

Healthy Ways to Cope with Missing Someone

When someone we care about is no longer in our lives, the resulting absence can be difficult to bear. However, there are healthy ways to cope, and you’re not alone in this journey. Here’s how you can navigate through this emotional terrain.

1. Expressing Your Feelings

Let’s say you’re feeling a profound sense of longing. You miss someone dearly, and it hurts. Try talking about it.

Find someone who you trust, someone who won’t judge you or the depth of your feelings. Pour your heart out to them. You’ll be surprised at how much lighter you’ll feel afterward.

Alternatively, write it down. Journaling can be a powerful outlet for unexpressed emotions. Consider it like writing a letter to your feelings. You don’t necessarily need a fancy journal or a special pen — just be honest and let your feelings flow onto the page.

For the creatives among us, music and art can be your canvas of expression. Doodle your feelings, compose a song, or dance like nobody’s watching. Don’t worry about it being ‘good’. Focus on expressing your emotions authentically.

Did you know? Emotions are like internal mail. Ignoring them doesn't make them go away. They'll just pile up in your heart's mailbox until there's no room left. So, don't ghost your feelings. Instead, embrace the art of emotional expression.

2. Engaging in Self-Care

Dealing with emotional pain, much like its physical counterpart, can leave you feeling drained and out of sorts. Just as you would rest a sprained ankle, your heart needs TLC when it’s hurting too.

But where to start?

  1. Prioritize your physical health. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep are not just buzzwords; they are building blocks of emotional resilience.

    Exercise, for instance, releases endorphins, natural mood lifters.
  2. Treat yourself to some self-care practices. Run a warm bath, dive into a good book, or spend some time under the open sky.

    Picture this: You, lying on a blanket in a sunny meadow, book in hand, and the serene sounds of nature around you. Doesn’t that sound like a well-deserved break?

Remember, self-care isn’t selfish; it’s essential. As Lorde once sang, “I care for myself the way I used to care about you.” Let these words be your self-care anthem!

3. Keeping Busy

You’ve probably heard the saying, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” In the context of missing someone, this could mean endless reminiscing and a constant focus on the void left by their absence. So, how about picking up a productive distraction?

Try your hand at a new hobby. Have you always wanted to learn the guitar or take up knitting? Now’s the perfect time. Or, dust off an old hobby — those paintbrushes in the corner of your room are calling your name.

Volunteering is another wonderful way to keep busy. Helping others can provide a sense of purpose and belonging that may be lacking when you miss someone. Plus, it’s a win-win situation; you’re making a difference in someone else’s life while helping heal your own heart.

Tip: Joining clubs or social groups related to your hobbies can offer additional support and interaction, helping you cope with feelings of loss or longing.

4. Practicing Mindfulness and Acceptance

When you’re feeling overwhelmed by missing someone, mindfulness can be a life raft. It’s about living in the present moment, fully aware of your thoughts and feelings, without judgment.

Practicing mindfulness can help you accept your feelings of longing instead of fighting them. This acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that it’s okay to miss someone, to feel that ache.

As Carl Rogers once said,

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

You can cultivate mindfulness through meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises. Here are some beginner-friendly mindfulness exercises to help you get started:

  • Pay attention: Try to experience your environment with all your senses. For example, when you eat a favorite food, take the time to smell, taste, and truly enjoy it.
  • Live in the moment: Find joy in simple pleasures and bring an open, accepting, and discerning attention to everything you do.
  • Accept yourself as you are: Treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend.
  • Focus on your breathing: When you have negative thoughts, sit down, take a deep breath, and close your eyes. Focus on your breath as it moves in and out of your body​.

(Source: Mindfulness exercises, 2022; Mayo Clinic)

5. Remembering the Good Times

Memories are a curious thing. They can make you laugh, cry, and sometimes, they can be a source of comfort. When you miss someone, shared memories can serve as a warm blanket, wrapping you in a comforting embrace of the past.

Look at old photos, revisit places you went together, and listen to songs that you both loved. As you do this, don’t focus on the absence but on the happiness and connection, these memories evoke. Let them serve as reminders of the good times you shared.

Consider this: making a scrapbook of memories. It's a tangible way to keep those memories alive. And who knows? As you leaf through the pages in the future, you might just find a smile creeping up on your face.

6. Building a Support Network

There’s strength in numbers, especially when it comes to healing emotional wounds. While it’s important to navigate your feelings independently, don’t underestimate the healing power of a strong support network.

Reach out to friends and family. Share your feelings, your fears, and your hopes with them. Remember that it’s okay to lean on others when you’re feeling low. As the Beatles sang, “I get by with a little help from my friends.”

Support groups can also be a sanctuary, a safe space to share and listen to others who are going through similar experiences. There are numerous in-person and online support groups that cater to a variety of needs. Remember, there’s no need to walk this path alone.

Related: How to Build a Personal and Family Support System

7. Learning New Skills or Knowledge

Learning new skills or gaining knowledge is not only a great distraction, but it also stimulates the brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitter. So, why not take this time to learn something new?

How about learning a new language? Or mastering the art of French cooking? You could even delve into the world of astrophysics if that’s what floats your boat.

Alternatively, the internet is a treasure trove of educational resources. Websites like Coursera, Khan Academy, and Duolingo offer a plethora of courses and lessons, often for free. So, go ahead and arm yourself with knowledge!

8. Traveling or Changing Your Environment

Sometimes, a change of scenery can do wonders for your emotional well-being. It’s like hitting the ‘refresh’ button on your life. Traveling or exploring new places can provide a fresh perspective, a break from the routine, and a chance to create new memories.

But if long-distance travel isn’t feasible, don’t fret. There’s an adventure to be found right around the corner. Try visiting a local museum you’ve never been to, or take a walk in a part of town you usually bypass.

Remember, the goal is to break the monotony and refresh your perspective.

9. Connecting with Nature

Isn’t it fascinating how the great outdoors can serve as an oasis for our minds? Nature offers us a sanctuary, a space to breathe, and a place to find peace. So, why not explore the therapeutic effects of nature?

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Take a Hike: Not only is hiking a great form of exercise, but it also allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. Every step you take is an opportunity to reconnect with our planet.
  2. Gardening: Feel the rhythm of life under your fingertips as you nurture a plant from seedling to full bloom. It’s a reminder of the patience and care that growth requires.
  3. Bird Watching: Yes, it’s a thing! And it’s more exciting than you might think. It’s like a real-life scavenger hunt where you learn to appreciate the intricate details of our feathered friends. You might even find a new favorite pastime!

But remember, as we enjoy the beauty of nature, it’s our responsibility to respect and protect it. It’s about sustainability – leaving no trace behind and promoting practices that help conserve our environment. After all, we are merely guests in nature’s home.

10. Incorporating Physical Activity

Physical activity isn’t just good for your body; it’s also a mood booster for your mind! It’s like a magic potion for our emotional well-being. Studies show that even small amounts of physical activity can reduce anxiety and improve mental health​​. Now, that’s a fact worth breaking a sweat for!

Now, let’s talk about some ways to get moving:

  • Running: Ever heard of the “runner’s high”? It’s a feeling of euphoria that runners often experience after a long run. It’s your body’s way of saying, “Hey, good job!”
  • Dancing: Whether you’ve got two left feet or can bust a move, dancing is a fun way to get your heart pumping. Turn up the music and let your body flow with the rhythm.
  • Yoga: Stretch, breathe, and relax. Yoga is not just about flexibility; it’s a journey of self-discovery that promotes a sense of inner peace.
Quick tip: Choose an activity you love. Yes, love. Because the best workout is the one you'll do.

How to Keep the Connection Alive

For People Who Are Alive but Distant

When you miss someone who is alive but at a distance, there are various ways to keep the connection alive. First and foremost, maintaining communication is crucial. Make an effort to reach out regularly via phone calls, text messages, or chats.

This ongoing communication helps you feel their presence in your life, even if you can’t be physically close.

  • Using technology like video calls, social media, and shared photo albums can help you create new connections. Consider scheduling weekly or monthly video calls to catch up and maintain a sense of social connection.
  • Planning future meetings is another essential element of keeping a connection alive. Having something to look forward to, like a vacation or visit, can help you cope with feelings of missing them in the present.

Some tips for keeping the connection alive with distant loved ones:

  1. Send each other occasional care packages.
  2. Share updates on major life events.
  3. Find activities you can do together virtually, like watching a movie or playing online games.

For People Who Have Passed Away

Coping with missing someone who has passed away can be especially challenging. However, there are several healthy ways to keep their memory alive and maintain a connection.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Keeping mementos such as photos, items they treasured, or things that remind you of them can provide comfort and a sense of presence. Keep these objects in a place where you can regularly see and appreciate them.
  • Maintaining traditions that the person enjoyed or valued is a meaningful way to honor their memory. Carry on the customs in their honor and include them in your daily or annual routines.
  • Honoring their memory by engaging in charity work, creating a tribute, or visiting their final resting place can help maintain a connection and provide solace in your moments of grief.

Consider some of these suggestions for honoring someone who has passed away:

  • Dedicate a personal creative project to their memory, such as a painting or a poem.
  • Visit their favorite spots and remember the times spent together.
  • Create a memory jar or scrapbook with stories, photos, and cherished memories.
Remember: It's essential to give yourself time and space to grieve while finding healthy ways to keep the connection alive with those you miss.

Anecdote: “Rekindling Connections — The Power of a Shared Song”

Do you ever think about that old friend of yours, the one who moved away to a different city years ago? The one with whom you shared countless laughter and tears, the one who knew the lyrics to your life’s soundtrack?

When their last box was loaded onto the moving truck, you both promised to keep in touch, to visit each other. But life happened, and those promises faded. You started to miss them, a low hum in the background of your busy life. Then, one day, while shuffling through a random playlist on your phone, that song – your song – came on.

It was like stumbling upon a time capsule, every note a journey back to those shared moments. Instead of sinking into nostalgia, you picked up your phone and shot them a message. A simple “This song just came on. Remember?” turned into a two-hour-long conversation, reminiscing about the past and catching up on the present.

Just like that, you transformed your longing into a renewed connection. Your friend wasn’t physically there, but they were present, and that made all the difference.

Recognizing When to Let Go

There comes a time in all of our lives when we’re clutching onto the past like a lifeline. It’s only human, and we’ve all been there. We hold on because it feels safe; it feels familiar. But how can we tell when it’s time to loosen our grip and let go?

The Past is Taking Over Your Present

If you find yourself more engrossed in what was than what is, it might be a sign to cut those strings. Life is happening right here, right now. Don’t miss it!

You’re Idealizing the Past

Memories can be tricky. They can make the past look like a blockbuster hit when in reality, it had its fair share of bad reviews. If you’re only remembering the good times and overlooking the challenges, it might be time to take off those rose-colored glasses.

Your Emotional Well-being is Affected

If longing for someone is taking a toll on your emotional health, causing distress, anxiety, or depression, it’s a red flag, my friend. It’s high time to step back and focus on your well-being.

The Relationship was More Harmful than Helpful

This one is a clear indicator. If the relationship brought more pain than joy, letting go is the healthiest option. No matter how much you miss them, a bad relationship is still a bad relationship.

Remember, letting go isn’t about forgetting or dismissing the past. It’s about acknowledging it, learning from it, and then bravely stepping forward into your future. We’re all navigating this journey called life, and sometimes, the best way to move forward is to let go of what’s behind us.

“Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.”

— Deborah Reber

When and How to Seek Professional Help

Recognizing the Signs

When you’re missing someone, it’s essential to recognize the signs that may indicate a need for professional help. These signs could signal that your feelings are transitioning into complicated grief or depression:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness and emptiness
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Pretend you don’t miss them to others or yourself
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Preoccupation with the person you miss; affecting your daily life
  • Significant changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless

If you experience several of these symptoms for an extended period, it may be time to seek professional help.

Importance of Seeking Help

Taking the initiative to seek help when feelings of missing someone start to impact your daily life is crucial. By ignoring these emotions, you may be indirectly harming your mental health.

Here are some reasons why seeking help is important:

  • A mental health professional can offer coping strategies and tools to help you manage your emotions
  • Therapy can provide a safe space to express and process your feelings
  • Timely intervention can prevent your feelings from escalating into more severe emotional issues
  • Strengthen your resilience and emotional well-being

Resources for Finding Professional Help

There are several resources available to help you find the right mental health professional to support you in dealing with your feelings of missing someone.

  1. Therapists
    • Psychology Today offers a directory of licensed therapists in your area
    • Your primary care physician may have recommendations for therapists
    • Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) often provide mental health services for employees
  2. Hotlines
    • 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, available 24/7
    • Many countries have dedicated mental health crisis lines, for example, UK’s Samaritans at 116 123
  3. Support Groups
    • Local community centers, hospitals, and mental health organizations may host grief support groups
    • Online forums like Grief Healing Discussion Groups or Grieving.com can connect you with others going through similar experiences

By utilizing these resources, you can find the appropriate professional help and support to cope with your feelings of missing someone in a healthy and productive manner.

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal, and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to.”

– Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you say when you miss someone badly?

Expressing the depth of your feelings when you miss someone can be a bit daunting, but honesty and sincerity always work best.

Here are a few things you can say:

“I think about you all the time.”
“I wish you were here right now.”
“Every place I go reminds me of you.”
“I feel a bit incomplete without you.”
“I remember our time together, and it makes me miss you even more.”

Remember, every relationship is unique, so it’s okay to come up with personalized expressions. The point is to be genuine about your feelings.

Why does missing someone hurt so much?

The feeling of missing someone can hurt a lot because it’s closely tied to the emotional and psychological bonds you’ve formed with that person.

Here’s why it can be so painful:

Emotional Attachment: Humans are social creatures, and we form attachments to people who become significant in our lives. When they are not around, we feel a void.

Memory Triggers: Things around you may remind you of the person you miss, which can bring a wave of nostalgia and longing, leading to emotional pain.

Separation Anxiety: This is common in close relationships where being apart can cause feelings of insecurity or worry.

Unresolved Feelings: If you parted ways on bad terms or without closure, the pain of missing them can be even more intense.

How does someone act when they miss you?

People react in different ways when they miss someone. Here are some common signs:

Increased Communication: They might reach out more frequently via text, call, or social media.

Talk about Past Memories: If they constantly bring up shared memories, it’s a sign they’ve been thinking about you.

Ask about your Well-being: Regular inquiries about your life and well-being indicate they miss your presence.

Body Language: If you’re meeting in person, they might show clear signs of excitement, or there could be an underlying sadness when parting ways.

Emotional Outbursts: They may show emotional vulnerability, express feelings more openly, or appear unusually sensitive.

However, it’s important not to jump to conclusions based on these signs alone. It’s always good to communicate openly about your feelings with the other person.


Feeling a pang of longing for someone absent in your life is a human trait as old as time itself. It’s often a nuanced mix of sweet memories and a hint of sadness, like a well-aged wine. But remember, it’s okay to miss someone – it just shows that you’ve opened your heart to care and love.

Key points to remember:

  • Acknowledge your feelings. Don’t bottle them up. It’s like a pot of soup – let it simmer, not boil over.
  • Jot down your thoughts and feelings. A ‘Miss You’ diary could be your new best friend.
  • Lean on your support system. They’re there for you through thick and thin, through Netflix binges and tubs of ice cream.
  • Keep yourself engaged. Find a new hobby or passion. Who knows? You might be the next big thing in salsa or bonsai-making.

To wrap it up, missing someone is not about being stuck in the past or clinging to an illusion. It’s about honoring your feelings and, at the same time, moving forward, one baby step at a time. It’s a journey of resilience and growth.

So, the next time you miss someone, remember to give yourself a pat on the back. You’re human, you’re feeling, you’re growing, and that’s what makes this ride called life truly worthwhile.

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Leah Bayubay

Leah is a creative soul with a passion for telling stories that matter. As an editor and writer at UpJourney, she channels her natural curiosity and imagination into thought-provoking articles and inspiring content. She is also a registered nurse dedicated to helping others and making a positive impact.

In her free time, she indulges her artistic side as a hobbyist photographer, capturing the world's beauty one shot at a time. You can also find her in a poor-lit room playing her favorite video games or in a corner somewhere, reading and immersing herself in the rich worlds of fantasy and dark academia.

At home, Leah is surrounded by love and laughter, living peacefully with her partner and their three adorable shih tzus.