5 Ways To Help A Friend Go Through A Breakup
Most of us have been there; we know a breakup is essentially the death of a relationship. It’s often a time of sadness, anger, confusion, disappointment, denial, and shock. And what people who are going through a breakup need more than anything is support.
If you're reading this article I'll assume there is someone you know who is struggling with a breakup right now and you care about their well-being. Thank you for caring for them, they’re lucky to have you.
Here are 5 ways you can support your loved one through a break up:
1. ASK THEM WHAT THEY NEED.
Chances are, if they’ve just exited a relationship, their needs weren’t being met in the dynamic. Ask them what they WANT or NEED with curiosity and compassion.
2. RECOGNIZE THEIR STRENGTHS
Going through a breakup can be sad and tough on a person’s self-esteem. You may notice your loved one is not feeling like themselves and may be hard on themselves about why their relationship didn’t work out. It’s important in these moments not to tear them apart with criticism but rather to recognize their possible strengths. For example, it takes courage to leave a relationship that isn’t working when you’ve given it your all, it takes strength to get out of bed knowing a huge piece of your life is no longer there, and it takes wisdom to sit down and want to learn lessons from the experience.
3. ASK THEM HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT THEM.
I can’t tell you how many clients of mine come in to therapy spilling their guts because they feel like they can’t call a family member or friend. It’s important to remind our loved ones going through this challenging time that we WANT to be there for them, that it is a pleasure and an honor to love them both in happy AND sad times. Ask them how you can support them- it may be that they need something as simple as a hug.
4. GAUGE THEIR READINESS TO HEAR NEWS ABOUT THEIR EX.
Break ups today look a little different than 10, even 5 years ago. With social media more rampant than ever and communities tighter than ever, it’s normal for us to hear about our ex’s whereabouts and doings. And the truth is, everyone grieves differently. Some of us take our time moving on while others move at a faster pace. There is no right or wrong way to grieve (although some methods are healthier than others.) Chances are you may see your friend’s ex roaming around town, dating someone new, or updating their social media with a whole new self-image. It’s important to check in with your friend about how much information they want to hear about their ex. Part of their healing process may look like you telling them everything you know about their ex or you telling them nothing about their ex or somewhere in between. Let it be their choice- don’t decide for them. And understand that their answer to this question may change over time; Grief is a moving target.
5. CHECK IN WITH THEM.
Especially in the first few weeks, check in with your loved one. Ask them how they are doing. Meet them where they are. Validate the crap out of them- look for the kernel of truth in their experience. If we can feel loved when we are doing nothing, then we can accomplish anything. You may feel like you are intruding on them- allow them to communicate their possible need for privacy.
LASTLY, make sure you take care of yourself. Being there for our besties can be uplifting and gratifying. It can also be draining. It’s important to make sure your gas tank is full before you can fill up someone else’s. Be honest with yourself about what YOU need to take care of yourself as you support someone moving through a break up.
Sending you love,
Nicole Nowparvar LCSW and Life Coach
If you need additional support, feel free to call or text me for a free 15 minute consult!
Nicole Nowparvar is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Life Coach. Her private practice is located in Beverly Hills. She works with teenagers and young adults as they move through challenges in their life and uncover their greatest potential. If her style resonates with you, feel free to contact her.