Even if you somehow manage to never experience a bad breakup yourself, all of us will have at least one friend going through a bad breakup at some point. It’s just a part of life but as friends, seeing our BFFs in pain we can’t fix can feel especially helpless.
Here’s the list of little ways to help a friend going through a breakup:
Remind Them They Haven’t Failed
We tend to speak about breakups as if they are somehow failures, as if the more years you’re with someone you’re somehow winning the game of life. Well, if the relationship isn’t working, or has simply run its course, there is zero failure in acknowledging that. In fact, it’s very brave.For this reason, I think it’s important to remind your friend, first and foremost, that they haven’t “failed.”
Celebrate the lessons they learned from this relationship, and help remind them how it wasn’t a waste of their time ,they now know with more clarity what they want and need in a partner, and had valuable practice being in a relationship.
Don’t Victimize Them Or Overstate Silver Linings
Acknowledge their pain, but avoid using pitying language that makes them feel victim. Being Ms.
Silver Lining is also annoying but you can walk that line between hearing her pain and reminding her of the exciting things that will likely grow out of it .
Encourage Them To Spend Quality Time Alone
Make sure they are spending quality time alone with themselves. That means trying to do something every day that feels good and doable like committing to taking a walk to a cafe alone a few times a week and ordering their favorite latte. Acknowledge that you know this isn’t an easy time for them to be alone with their thoughts right now, but that confronting them is crucial to feeling less helpless.
Offer Practical Help
As with anyone in crisis, it’s better to offer tangible help than to simply ask ‘What can I do?’, since that places the onus for coming up with a task on the person in pain. You can help your friend move furniture rather than just saying ‘whatever I can do to help, let me know.
Hear Their Frustration But Don’t Bash Their Ex
If they’re venting, it can be tempting to bash their ex with them, especially if they were a jerk. But if you talk smack about their ex, your friend will resent it , it’s like you’re saying they had bad taste that whole time . So while you should acknowledge your friend’s anger, saying things like, ‘ugh, that sucks’ or, ‘I’m really glad you’re standing up for yourself,’ is much more useful now than airing all the grievances you had with their ex.
Make It Clear Your Home Is A Safe Space
If you live nearby, let them know your home is open. If they need a couch to crash on for the night, or just to come over and vent, it’s key you make it explicit that they aren’t imposing. Of course, you have to set the boundaries that are right for you but just stating explicitly that your place is a safe space is super useful to hear, even it seems obvious to you.
Send A Care Package
Put together a personalized care box of things you know they’ll love . Sometimes getting a present at your door really does help especially if it’s stuff to pamper them, or inside jokes that will make them laugh.
Offer To Help Them Reinvent
If you live nearby enough, offer to help your friend redecorate their space, clear out their closet, get a haircut, or otherwise get their fresh start.
Make Them A Special Breakup Playlist
A breakup playlist can help but it also doesn’t need to all be sad or angry songs. Songs that will remind your friend of great times you’ve had together and life before their ex are also important! What matters most is that you take the time to do it.
Remember That It’s Not Your Job To Fix It
If you expect yourself to fix things, you’re making their breakup about you and that’s actually selfish.
Do your best to remind yourself that it is not on you to fix their pain or situation, and that the best thing you can do is to give what support you can genuinely offer without resentment, exhaustion, or desire for payback.