How To Help Your Bestie Through A Breakup
The best you can do is be there.
When a friend goes through a breakup, it’s a tough, transitional time for them. They need their friends now more than ever, and seeing them in such an emotionally vulnerable place naturally makes you want to help.
Here are some ways you can a considerate friend and confidant when one of your besties is going through a breakup.
Actually Be There
Grief stops for no one. If you’re going to be there for your friend, you have to be there every step of the way.
That means being there for the late night rants, 4am phone calls and everything in between. Your friend will be looking for something to lean on and if that something is you, you have to make yourself available as much as you can.
Let Them Vent, Judgement Free
Breakups are a time where logic and rationality tend to go out the window, in favour of emotionally charged responses. Understanding this means giving your friend a space to let out all of their emotions stress and judgement free. Your friend probably knows that half the stuff they’re saying is irrational, and they’re coming to you trusting that you won’t point that out and make them feel worse for how they’re feeling.
Let your friend feel validated – their life is going through a massive restructure so there’s going to be an adjustment period.
Follow Their Emotions
Even if you never liked your friend’s (now ex) partner, it won’t do any good if you badmouth them while your friend is still in the depths of grief. Make sure to follow your friend through their various stages of mourning in order to mirror and affirm their sentiments as they come. This will help validate their feelings, and let them come to their own realisations.
No one likes an “I told you so”.
As important as it is to be there for friends post breakup, a balance needs to be struck between support and smothering. Grief is an individual pursuit, and having someone constantly over their shoulder is going to make them feel uncomfortable. As vulnerable as they are right now, they’re also adults who can work through problems without constant supervision or monitoring.
Plus chances are they don’t want you to bring it up, lest it reminds them.
Be A Cautious Devil’s Advocate
Being the external observer often means that you have a clear picture of what’s happening, and you can use that insight to help your friend. But be sure to do so with tact, while still remaining sympathetic and appreciating the place your friend is in now.
It’s a tricky balance to strike but if done correctly can be a valuable source of insight for your friend. Just a simple “what if…” will prompt them to view their situation with new eyes, and gently nudge them along the path to acceptance.
This method is best attempted after the initial emotional outburst stage, when you can both talk through the situation without dissolving into tears.
When a relationship breaks down, one of the most valuable bedrocks are the friendships that remain. Being there for a friend post-breakup can be a taxing but watching them rebuild and thrive better than before is all the reward you need.
Kim Koelmeyer is and Arts (Journalism)/Law student at Deakin University and deals primarily in memes and blogging.
(Lead image: Gilmore Girls/Warner Bros)