Do You Cheer Up Your Friends Correctly in Japanese? – 7 Phrases to Replace “Ganbatte”

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Have you ever had difficulty in coming up a phrase to cheer up your friend instead of using just “Ganbatte” (頑張って)? As a Japanese language learner, I believe Ganbatte is the most heard word for us throughout our Japanese learning process. But did you realise, that sometimes Ganbatte can be hurting people’s feeling too.

“I’m already trying very hard. Am I not doing well enough?”

Following by a “Ganbatte” sometimes makes you sound like you are taking pity on a person.

In order to tell our friends more accurately our intention to cheer them up, it is necessary for us to learn some alternative phrases to replace “Ganbatte”. Are you ready for the intelligent phrases? 😀

7 Phrases to Replace “Ganbatte”

Cheer up your friend in Japanese 7 phrases to replace Ganbatte

1. うまくいくといいね ( Umaku Ikuto Iine)
うまくいくといいね can be translated in English as “Good luck”. Instead of telling people to try harder (Ganbatte), we can cheer them up by wishing them good luck. By doing so, your friend may feel better for the effort he has made and sit back to look forward to the result.


2. じっくりいこうよ (Jikkuri Ikouyo)
じっくりいこうよ can be translated as “take it easy”. For people who have already tried their best but still cannot make a way out of it, it is not good to tell him “Ganbatte” again. We all need to make progress, but just don’t be in hurry. 100km/hr is a progress, 20km/hr is also making progress. Either way is taking us one step closer to the goal. じっくりいこうよ 🙂


3. 無理はしないでね (Muri Wa Shinaidene)
無理はしないでね literally means “Don’t push it too hard”, but it can be translated into “Take care”. This is a good phrase to tell your friend that he has done his best.


4. 元気出してね / 元気出せよ! (Genki Dashite ne / Genki Daseyo!)
These two phrases mean “Come on! Cheer up!” in English. If your friend is obviously hitting a slump, why not tell him honestly to cheer up and look upon the shiny sky? Never tell him “Ganbatte” at the worst time in his life because it may make him feel that he has not done his best.


5. 踏ん張って / 踏ん張れ (Funbatte / Funbare)
“Hang in there.” If we say “Ganbatte”, it makes people feel like they have to try harder, there are something they should have done but didn’t do. But  踏ん張って is a good phrase to tell people that “You are doing a great job!” It makes people feel that the situation is not as bad as they think.


6. 気楽にね / 気楽にいこうよ! (Kirakuni ne / Kirakuni Ikouyo!)
“Take it easy.” This is a good phrase to tell people not to push themselves too hard. Everything will turn out to be alright.


7. ベストを尽くしてね
“Do your best!” In English, it sounds very casual and powerful but unfortunately in Japanese language, it may sound a little bit formal. If you are told to “ベストを尽くしてね”, when the result is not optimistic, Japanese people may feel that they “didn’t do their best”. However, it is still a good phrase to encourage people to achieve something. Use it when your friend is going to accomplish something big. 😀



You may have noticed that Japanese people tend to encourage people by saying “Ganbatte”, however, in English, we have thousands of ways to do it. We cannot blame why they tend to use “Ganbatte” when it comes to encouraging others because in fact, Japanese language has fewer phrases to encourage people than English does.

That is also why it is important to learn another way to cheer up people instead of using “Ganbatte” because –  people need another phrase. Even though they are not used to the phrases other than Ganbatte, it creates a different feeling and atmosphere to them by saying a different phrase.

Have you received other encouraging phrases from your friend before that made your day? Leave a comment and share with me. I will update it into this article so that we can have a bible phrases of cheering up people. 😛

A Chinese Malaysian, Blogger, Vlogger on YouTube, Tour Guide in Japan. He believes 1 day his videos can bring Japan and Malaysia together. マレーシア華人、ブロガー、YouTubeクリエイター、日本にいるツアーガイドです。いつか自分の動画は日本とマレーシアを繋げる架け橋になると信じています。 Read more ABOUT him.