Helping a Friend Through a Break Up
Helping a friend through a break up involves some patience, some encouragement and a lot of listening. Life after a break up can be a very sad and difficult time for your friend. It can also be a time when they find out who their real friends are. When someone close to you is going through a painful break up, step up and be a friend at a difficult time.
Here are some tips for helping a friend through a break up:
You Canít Fix Your Friendís Broken Heart
As much as you might like to heal your friendís broken heart, you canít. Only time will heal the hurt your friend feels from their break up. What you can do is to be a confidant and companion to your friend as they go through this difficult time.
Be Patient and Understanding
While you know that your friend will live to love again, it is going to take time for your friend to get over their break up. You can help your friend in their journey to a better place by being patient and understanding with them. Ultimately, your friend will come to terms with the break up in their own time. It is a process that they have to work through themselves. Donít try to rush their healing process.
Encourage Your Friend to Talk
The best thing that you can do to help your friend through a break up is to let them talk. Left alone, your friendís mind will be a whirlwind of thoughts about their failed relationship. It is a burden to carry alone. Let your friend share their hurts and disappointments with you by encouraging them to share what is on their heart.
Let Your Friend Mourn Their Failed Relationship
Your friend may question why their relationship failed. Mourning after a relationship break up is part of the process of getting to a better day. Donít try to cut it short by telling your friend that there are more fish in the sea or that they are better off. Your friend is coming to terms with their loss. Part of that is honoring the joy they found in their relationship.
Your Friendís Mood May Be a Bit Chaotic
One moment your friend may be angrily telling you all the things they hated about their former boyfriend or girlfriend and the next moment they could be in tears telling you how much they miss them. This is a reflection of the turmoil in your friendís heart. Try to listen patiently as your friend shares their grief over the break up with you.
Encourage Your Friend
After a break up, your friend might be pretty hard on themselves, pointing out all their own shortcomings and failures. You can help lift their spirits by asking about the nice things they did for their former boyfriend or girlfriend. You can also tell your friend what qualities you appreciate or admire in them. Point out their nice traits and the great things they have to offer.
Resist Volunteering Advice
Encourage your friend to share what is on their heart and quietly listen to what your friend has to say. Resist the temptation to offer advice. What your friend really needs is someone who will listen to them.
Donít Beat up on Your Friendís Former Boyfriend or Girlfriend
Your friend is going to have mixed feelings about their former boyfriend or girlfriend. One moment they will hate them and wished they had never met, another time they will say that they love their ex with all their heart and want to get back together. Taking a hard position on their former boyfriend or girlfriend may signal that you are done listening to what they have to say about the relationship.
Don't Encourage Your Friend to Start Dating Too Quickly
Encourage your friend give their heart some time to heal before they start dating again. Until your friend has properly mourned their past relationship and gotten past the sorrow, their head wonít be in a place to make good decisions. Any relationship that begins before they have emotionally dealt with their failed relationship would just be a rebound relationship. Rebound relationships are generally unwise, unfulfilling and ultimately unsuccessful.
Try to Keep Your Friend Away from Drugs and Alcohol
About the worst thing your friend could do is to try to hide from the pain of their break up by getting involved with drugs or alcohol. While drugs or alcohol may temporarily dull the pain of a relationship break up, they will do nothing toward healing your friendís head and heart. Do your best to keep your friend away from drugs and alcohol. Try to steer your friend toward healthier distractions.
Provide Your Friend with Healthy Distractions
One of the best things you can do to help a friend through a break up is to help get them out of the house and into the world. Getting your friend involved in fun activities will help your friend get their mind off the break up and will show them that life can be good without their former boyfriend or girlfriend. Healthy distractions could include:
- Going on a day trip
- Taking a walk
- Going window shopping
- Visiting a park
- Riding bikes
- Going hiking
- Going to a play
- Going to a movie
- Going to a concert
- Ordering a pizza and watching a video together
If your friend is having problems coping with their grief over a break up, suggest to your friend that they seek professional counseling. Many employers and most health care plans provide professional counseling at little or no cost. If your friend does go to a professional counselor, donít think you are off the hook. You will still have a big role to play in your friendís recovery.
Having a friend go through a painful break up can be a difficult time for both of you. Helping a friend through a break up takes time, patience and understanding, but in the end your friend will get to a brighter day and you will have developed a stronger friendship.