How To Help A Friend Through A Breakup — (and What To Say)
While helping a friend with a breakup isn’t rocket science, it’s essential to understand exactly what your friend needs this time. Researchers at FinditHealth found that TV shows often glamorize our abilities to give relationship advice to our close friends when the reality is we often don’t know the right things to say.
In real life, it’s actually really hard to know what to say to your friend when they are this upset. Regardless if you liked their ex or approved of the long-term relationship, it’s essential to be there for them as a friend. Keep reading for ways to help a friend through a breakup and this tough time.
What To Say To A Friend After A Breakup
That you need to support them through the grief process initially before they begin to heal. The grief process can look different for everyone as some will need spa days, lots of comfort food, or even just space to process their feelings.
You can also suggest to your friend self-care activities that they could do to comfort and be with themselves. Starting an evening journal practice can be a wonderful way for your friend to collect and process their thoughts. Writing has many benefits and can be especially healing for this vulnerable time and especially difficult breakup.
Help Them With Everyday Things
Sometimes the best thing you can do as your friend goes through the grief process is to simply help them with everyday basic necessities. Breakups are very emotional and can be very all-consuming. You have to share the news with everyone, collect your belongings, and carry on with your daily activities and life.
This can be an uncomfortable transition, and a lot of things are sure to slip through the cracks. To help your friend to the amount you are comfortable with, you can look at helping them with the following:
- Set up a meal kit service
- Help them schedule appointments
- Cancel old plans they created with their Ex
- Creating new plans and hobbies, you can do together
Best Advice For Someone Going Through A Breakup
Remind Them They Haven’t “Failed”
Feeling low after a breakup is very common, and many people will experience a sense of failure or even develop symptoms of depression. First, remind your friend, most importantly, that they did not fail.
Your friend feels like a failure because they are grieving the loss of their ex-partner and other losses like dreams for the future, shared social connections, and the support system they had in their relationship. It’s essential as a friend to remind them this isn’t true and that you are there to support them. It can also be wise at this time to limit social media so they are checking in on their ex and friend groups you hung out together in.
Help Your Friend Reinvent
Encourage your friend to take all the time they need to grieve after a breakup. When they are ready, encourage them to embrace positivity and set their mindset to personal development so they can move on in a healthy way. Remind them this is a great opportunity for a fresh start, and you can use the below as examples of ways to motivate them.
- Take up new hobbies
- Try out a new haircut or look
- Go travel somewhere together
Celebrate Friend’s Night
While it can be tempting to want to immediately jump back on the dating scene on a Friday night at the bar, it may end up being counter-productive. As attractive as it might be to soothe your friend’s sorrow with a boozy night out, alcohol worsens feelings of depression and anxiety. Also, you don’t want to push your friend into a rebound or new relationship too quickly. You want them to take the time they need to process the grief and move on when they feel they are ready.
Instead, focus on a friends night and spending quality time with them. You can do activities like walking, yoga class, or just chilling in your kitchen making a meal together. Animals can be very healing if you want to get out in nature or go volunteer at a local animal sheather.
Ask & Don’t Assume What They Need
Every relationship, and breakup, is different and also very unique to the people involved. While you can share what was helpful for you during your previous breakup, it’s important not to assume the same will be valid for your friend. In short, the most beneficial thing you can do right off the bat is ask what you can do to help and provide a listening ear. Some examples of things you can say that balance practicality and compassion are:
- “I’m sorry you’re going through this. Is there anything you’d like to talk about or any activity that you want to do?
- “What would help you feel better right now?”
- “How can I best support you today?”
The research we found suggests that it is often best to leave the offer open and let your friend come to you. Sometimes even when your friend has no idea what they need right now, they know they can always approach you when something comes up.
It’s important not to use a lot of “me” words or try to fix your friend’s feelings. Negative emotions are a normal part of breakups and should be encouraged to let out as your friend experiences the grieving process. Don’t try overly exciting them or distracting them because you are unsure how to deal with their sadness. We don’t recommend saying things like, “You’re better off without them,” as that might minimize their grief.
Have empathy and compassion, and have space for their pain, as well as hope that things will get better in the future. You can say things like, “I’m so sorry you are going through this right now. But I truly believe something exciting for you is on the other side of this.”
Don’t Talk Poorly About Their Ex
Breakups are a time for processing and encouraging positivity, not finding and labeling all the ways their ex was wrong for them. Regardless of your emotional state towards their ex, it’s wise to keep your opinions to yourself until things have settled down. Let your friend talk freely about their ex and say whatever they need to say as they process their grief.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I help a friend through a breakup over text?
The best text you can send a friend after a breakup is, “Text or call me whenever you want to talk. I am always here for you.”
What to say to a friend going through a heartbreak?
You want to show your friend that you are there for them, so anything along the lines of showing your support will be ideal. An example could be, “I want to support you however I can. By being a good listener, taking you out, or just a shoulder to cry on.”
How do you comfort a friend?
The best way to comfort someone is to acknowledge what you are seeing and sensing. Say something like, “I know you’re having such a hard time with this,” or “I’m sorry you’re hurting so much.” Also, affirm that you hear what they’re saying by saying it back to them in your own words
Conclusion – Research by Findithealth.com
While breakups take on average three months to get over, recovery looks and will be very different for everyone. The team at FinditHealth found this can also take longer or have other effects depending on past experiences and the length of this relationship.
Whether your friend is sobbing after the breakup or just a bit quieter at being quieter than usual, being intentional about how you approach their healing process goes a long way. Just remember that your support is a great source of positivity for your friend in this gloomy period of their life.
Luz Chacon is a Health Educator, Wellness Coach, and EFT Tapping Practitioner with 30+ years in health advocacy. Specializing in stress management, wellbeing, and holistic health, she created a 40% stress reduction employee program. Luz is dedicated to helping busy individuals prioritize self-care, break patterns, and reach goals. She offers programs for organizations and individuals. Luz is passionate about sharing her health research and guiding informed choices!