It’s important to remember that going through a break up can be an intense time of grieving for the individual. The individual has lost someone important to them, as well as losing their future with that person. It takes time to process the relationship and grieve it.
Here are a few important steps that you can take to help:
- Remember that you can’t be the one to fix the broken heart. Only time and the things that the individual does or doesn’t do can heal it. If you try too hard to fix it, you’ll likely frustrate the individual and make them more annoyed and agitated.
- Be patient and understanding. After a few weeks, and can get frustrating to hear the same complaints from the individual. Perhaps we might feel that things aren’t getting better quickly enough. Helping to normalize that this is a process that takes time can be very helpful to the individual. Don’t try to shame or guilt them into “getting back to normal”.
- Be a safe place for the individual to talk and process. It’s healthy for the individual to communicate their feelings and needs to those they feel are safe. Listening in a non-judgmental way is incredibly important. Ask if the individual would like advice before you give it. If the individual feels that you’re always ready with a simple answer to their problems, they may not feel that you are a safe person to disclose information to.
- Avoid cliché phrases. Statements like “you’re better off”, “there are other people out there for you”, “your ex was a loser”, “everything happens for a reason”, and other similar phrases are more hurtful than helpful.
This post is part of a larger series on surviving a breakup. Check in throughout the next few weeks for more posts on the topic!
Now it's your turn!
What was the best or worst thing that someone said to you when you were going through a breakup? Has a breakup ever been hard on you when you weren't one of the two primary parties involved?