How to Help a Friend Through a Breakup

My passion for writing grew out of writing about relationships, but unlike others, my interest has always been about the end of relationships. Breakups, getting played, cheating, not knowing where you stand, all of these are stages of relationships that we don't talk about, out of embarrassment or fear that others will judge us.

At one point in our life most of us will get our heart broken, and whether you like it or not, you cant hold onto the hope forever that things will work themselves out and fall into place. Getting your heart broken shoves you into a situation where you are left picking up the pieces someone else left, which is why it's so important to be present for someone when they take the risk of reaching out for support.

Helping a friend after they have been dumped or during a breakup can be tough, as a therapist I can help you figure out what to say, what to do, and how to help.

Something must be in the air this month because I've had numerous people reach out to me for support regarding their relationship status, ranging from women who were never official to twenty years deep into a marriage. Somehow along the way my passion for relationships coupled with my unwavering desire to listen to women process what went wrong has led women from around the world to reach out to me during their lowest moment, and no matter where I am I will always make time for a woman who is sitting somewhere crying over a lost chance at love.

Related Post: 8 Reasons to Block Your Ex-Boyfriend on Social Media

The thing is I'm not always available, and not every woman who reads one of my posts will reach out to me. Over the years I've been through enough breakups to hear most pieces of advice from friends, the good and the bad, as well as on the other side. Now becoming a therapist, I've learned what opinions are better kept to myself, as well as techniques that help people heal in the toughest of situations.

If you're in a position to help a friend or family member through a breakup, keep reading for my best advice on how to help them vent, heal, and move on in the healthiest way possible. No one relationship is the same just as no one breakup is the same, but my hope is that these tips will help you comfort someone else when they need it the most.

Know when to bash the ex

It can be tempting to trash talk an ex once a relationship has ended, but my rule of thumb is to avoid the name calling until I'm 100% positive a reconciliation is out of the question. Too many people are in on and off relationships, which can be awkward for everyone when they get back together. Speaking the truth is okay, but straight up bashing should be avoided until all bridges have been burned.

Remain neutral at first

As a therapist, I've learned the best way to help someone who is dealing with a difficult situation is to remain neutral. You would think my job would be to side with my clients, but that's not always the case. The same rule goes for your friend. Remaining neutral means you don't yet challenge anything they are saying, you simply let them make their point, say how they feel, and serve as an outlet for them to express themselves to.

Give them the opportunity to talk

Anyone who has been through a tough breakup knows that no matter how long the final conversation was, it never feels like enough. For this reason, it's important to only make yourself available to someone if you are going to give them the opportunity to talk until they can let it all out. Sometimes this takes multiple conversations, hours, and you'll most likely hear a lot of information be repeated or changed as time passes. Talking through a problem helps people gain clarity of the situation, which is why the best thing you can do for a friend right after a breakup is give them an audience to vent their feelings to until they feel heard.

Offer advice only when asked

Another tip I learned by becoming a therapist, the less advice you give the better. To be honest, therapists are really in the field of giving advice, we're more tools to help people clearly see their options and choose the one that best suits them. Every time a friend asks you advice or an opinion, try flipping it around so that they ultimately answer their own question. For example, if asked "don't you think it's wrong for him to be texting other girls even though we weren't official?" Try responding with, "what does him texting other girls tell you about how he valued your relationship?" By having friends make up their own minds, they're more likely to see both the good and bad for themselves.

Related Post: How to Move On from a Relationship Without Closure

Let them know they're not alone

What helps me most during breakups is knowing that my friends are willing to help me through it, which is why being told I can reach out whenever I need someone was so beneficial to my mental health. Don't be afraid to call a friend to check up on them, send them a text in the middle of the day, or surprise them to provide a little extra company.

Share your experience

Our generation is not shy about showing off their significant others on social media, yet only the best moments are broadcasted for all to see. For this reason, so many of us don't know when the rest of us go through painful breakups, leading everyone to feel like they must be the only one. If you can relate to your friend in any way, don't be afraid to tell them what you went through, how you got through it, and how your life has changed because of it.

Helping a friend after they have been dumped or during a breakup can be tough, as a therapist I can help you figure out what to say, what to do, and how to help.

Make concrete plans

Life after a breakup consists of a lot of sitting at home and running through old conversations in your mind, which is why it's so important to get outside. If you have the time, make plans to do something with your friend, even if it's just in their home. Distracting them for a short period of time gives them a break from their reality and lets them know that life will return to normal eventually.

Do not stalk for them

Social media makes it too easy to keep in touch after a breakup, but for some, the added insult of being unfriend (or blocked) makes it more difficult for them to heal. Although your friend may ask, avoid stalking their ex for them online. If it's too hard to say no, unfriend their ex yourself so that your only option is to say no.

Set aside time in your schedule

Making time for a friend after their breakup doesn't mean your entire life has to revolve around them, small things like calling them or sending them a text is all they need to know you're still there if they need the support. For many, friends get put on the backburner during a relationship, so reaching out can feel weird once it ends. Making time for friends once a breakup has happened gives you both an opportunity to reconnect.

Related Post: My Secret Weapon to Finding Love Online

Don't just tell them what they want to hear

The hardest part of being a therapist is telling clients realizations they don't come to on their own, especially ones that they are actually repressing. After some time has passed, don't be afraid to be honest with your friends. Honests truths are different from advice because they have nothing to do with your opinion. For example, stating that they were cheated on 3 times is a fact. Stating, "he'll probably just end up cheating on you again," is an opinion, avoid just stating your opinion. Telling friends the truths they don't want to admit to themselves is difficult, but it can be necessary for them to see the big picture and begin moving on with their lives.

If you're helping someone through a breakup or have in the past, comment below the hardest part in the process. I'd love to know what your greatest challenge was for follow up posts on the topic of breakups!

No comments

Post a Comment