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  • Writer's pictureDavid Nagai

Phrases for This Crisis

Updated: May 21, 2021

During crisis, we have the opportunity to show concern for others, increase connection, and take positive action for the future. Here are some phrases that will help you.

Connecting to see how people are doing…

I’m just calling/writing to check in. How are things?

How are things holding up for you all during this crisis?

Are you hanging in there? (Are you surviving okay?)

What’s the scoop? (Like asking “What’s the news?” but specifically asking about information that only that person knows because of their unique location, relationship, or experience)

Is there anything I can do for you?

Hang in there, alright?

This crisis isn’t easy, but we’ll get through it, okay?

Making conversation about the crisis...

How do you think things will pan out? (What do you think will happen in the end?)

Where do you think things are headed? (What do you think will happen in the future?)

Do you feel any optimism about the crisis? (Do you see any positive aspects?)

What’s your projection? (What do you predict will happen?)

Expressing how you are doing…

If you’re doing okay but but still struggling:

I’m managing.

I’m getting by.

I’m surviving.

We’re keeping our heads above water. (Surviving)

We’re staying afloat. (We are still floating on the water – not drowning)

We’re managing to keep the lights on. (We are still able to pay the essential bills like electricity, etc.)

If you are really struggling a lot:

I’m barely hanging on.

I’m hanging on by a thread.

I’m losing my mind.

I’m about to lose it. (Lose my patience, mind, control, or ability to keep going)

I’m dying here. (Doesn’t mean actually dying, but really suffering)

I’ve been hitting my head against the wall. (To keep trying to do something but have no positive results, so you are very frustrated)

I’m up against a wall. (I have no possible solution; stuck in a very bad situation)

We’re drowning over here. (Very bad or overly busy situation)

We’re just treading water. (Just surviving)

We’re in hot water. (In trouble)

Talking about problems or loss…

The business is going under. (Go bankrupt; when a business dies)

Business is drying up. (Business is decreasing, probably a lot)

Business is dwindling. (Business is decreasing, probably a lot)

Business is on pause for now. (Temporarily stopped)

Everything is on hold. (Paused)

It’s all pending. (Awaiting a decision or settlement)

Things are in limbo. (An uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution)

Things are in flux. (Things are continuously changing)

There was writing on the wall but be didn’t act fast enough.

I should have read the writing on the wall.

("Writing on the wall" is clear information that things will become difficult or unpleasant)

Talking about solutions and innovation…

I want to make the most of the situation.

We can make the best of the situation.

We can take advantage of the opportunity.

Let’s turn lemons into lemonade. (Turn a bad or limited situation into a positive situation)

Let’s think outside the box. (Think creatively)

We need to be agile. (Nimble, supple, flexible, quick, adaptable)

We need to think on our feet. (Think quickly on the spot, in the moment, without preparation)

Let’s improvise some solutions. (Same as “think on our feet”… create something without preparation)

How can we circumvent this problem? (Avoid/get around a problem or obstacle)

How can we mitigate risk? (Minimize or reduce risk)

We have to pivot. (Pivot means to turn, move, or adjust, but often with certain restrictions or limitations. A basketball player pivots by keeping one foot in place while moving the rest of their body to their advantage. Pivoting can be physical or conceptual, like when pivoting your business or marketing plan.)

We just need to tweak it a little bit. (Tweak means to adjust a small amount)

Let’s modify the process. (Adjust or alter the process)

We need to revamp the whole thing. (Redesign, upgrade, renovate)

Crisis is difficult. Let's all keep connecting, encouraging, and helping each other. Together we can creatively get through to the other side.


Want to connect with the changing world in English?

online or in Yokohama-Motomachi

to expand your:

creative thinking

global awareness

cross-cultural communication

(Advanced and intermediate only)

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