We’ve all been there: Your close friend suddenly announces that she’s broken up with her boyfriend, and you’re left wondering what you should say and do. Here are a few ways you can cut through the awkwardness and support your friend through this time:
Show that you’re there
Grief can be all-absorbing. Consider helping out with a few basic things to make life easier for your friend. Run to the grocery store, walk their dog, or order flowers online to show how much you care. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is lend an ear and listen to them talk about how they’re feeling.
Be the voice of reason
You’ll need to encourage your friend to express their feelings to you in whatever way they like. But you’ll also need to be the voice of reason when they’re not quite thinking things through.
In other words, if your friend begins talking about stalking their ex’s new partner on Facebook, burning their ex’s clothing, or driving over to their house, it’s your job to talk them out of it. You’ll need to be supportive and let your friend know you’re there for them, but also try to ensure they don’t do anything they’ll end up regretting later.
Let them find the way
While you’ll obviously be supporting your friend through this tough time, you may also end up needing to set boundaries. While you may have no problem spending the day talking about the breakup, you may also need to go to dinner at your parents’ at five. And while you may be willing to hit the tequila the weekend after the breakup, you’re unlikely to suddenly turn into a party animal and be out dancing until 3am four days a week.
It’s important to remember that you have needs as well. And you’ll often need to eventually let your friend find their own way in the weeks and months after the breakup. The method of self-care that works for you after a breakup may not necessarily work for your friend. Some of this will be trial and error, and they’ll eventually need to get back on their own two feet.
Above all, make sure that your friend knows you’re available to talk, hang out, and offer insight and advice after their breakup. Sometimes, just knowing that someone has their back can make a massive difference when someone is going through a tough time.