It’s hard to find the right words to say when someone we care about is going through a tough time. But we think a little honesty goes way farther than the typical card-shop platitude. Because, while it’s easy to express sentiments of pride, joy and love on occasions like graduations and weddings, life’s rougher moments call for good friends to lean on more than ever. So say what you mean and mean what you say with awesome expressions like these.


1. Awkward Sympathy Card ($5): Emily McDowell is a genius when it comes to designing perfectly on-point cards that get right to the heart of the matter. Sometimes, just admitting that we’re not sure what to say is all our friends and family really need to hear; the fact that we’re there and we care is enough to make things a little bit better.


2. Sh*t Just Got Real ($5): Equally perfect for the arrival of a new baby and all its not-so-glamorous responsibilities, this card tells it like it is with a wink and a smile and a cute — albeit stinky — little cherub to boot.


3. One More Chemo Down Card ($5): When you’re going through something as real as chemo, clichés don’t really cut it. Knowing that the people around you realize the gravity of what you’re dealing with but aren’t scared to keep their sense of humor around you is pretty much priceless. In another genius offering from Emily McDowell, this card nails exactly what needs to be said.

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4. This Sucks Sympathy Card ($4): Simple, succinct and straight to the point, this card gets in, gets out and does its job without a lot of flowery nonsense. Because acknowledging that a situation is less than great while reassuring someone that you’ve got their back is really the best way to go, don’t you think?


5. Vulgar Calligraphy Card ($6): Because “sometimes everything just sucks and it helps to commiserate.” This card’s maker says what we are all really feeling and gets the message across better than any watercolor-painted flock of doves and carefully chosen poetic verse ever could.


6. Somebody Needs Rescuing Card: When it comes to friends and folks we trust, we could all use a little bailing out every now and again. This card captures that sentiment beautifully without anyone even having to ask, and it can be sent on paper or online in an instant. (via Paperless Post)


7. It’ll Be OK Card ($5): Oh man, those magic words! This card acts as a constant reminder that everything passes in one way or another, and that things will be alright again eventually. No muss, no fuss — just a reliable shoulder to lean on.


8. Doodle Words Photo Card ($6): When it comes to customizable photo cards, you can get as creative as you’d like. Think: pets, kiddos or a funny picture of you and your recipient from eons ago. And while most personalized photo cards only come in stacks of 10 or more, these can be ordered in quantities of one.


9. Cancer Sympathy Card ($5): Just say it like you mean it with this card. Because honesty and anger are the two most important things to get out there when showing your friend or loved one that you are here for them.


10. Mix Tape Stamp Kit ($20): Few things say “I give a damn about you” better than a mix tape. So why not make one? Put your thinking cap on and come up with a playlist that’s perfectly tailored to the person in need of a boost. Then, whether you deliver it on an actual old-school cassette, a CD, a flash drive or through the trusty cloud, make sure to use this rubber stamp kit to deliver it in style.

What’s the most thoughtful card you’ve ever gotten? Share in the comments below!