Monday, September 16, 2013

What Not To Say To A Friend During A Breakup

We’ve all answered that dreaded call from our best friend, crying after midnight on a Friday night - devastated - after the man she loves walked out the door. Our hearts goes out to pick her up off of her apartment floor from across the phone line by listening and trying our best to say what she needs to hear. But do we really know what those words are?
(image via marie claire)
When supporting a friend during a breakup, it’s hard to figure out exactly what to say. You want to comfort her and help her look on the bright side during these rough few weeks, but often well-intentioned thoughts and advice will only hurt or annoy your newly-single pal. 

Avoid saying these all to common “helpful” phrases to your heartbroken friend.

“I never liked him anyway.”
Even if you never got along with her ex, she was in love with him. And most likely still is. She doesn’t want to hear about how you always thought he was awkward at social events or abrasive in public or whatever may have secretly annoyed you about their relationship. Respect her right to be hurting over someone you didn’t necessarily care for. Sure, remind her she will find love again, but saying she can "do better than him" will only insult her. And remember there’s always the chance that they’ll get back together, so you don’t want to say something negative about him that you could regret in their second-time-around romance.

“What you need is a girls night out!”
No, what she needs is to cry over Adele ballads curled up in her dark bedroom with a box of tissues and delivery Pad Thai. Nights out to have fun, stay busy and keep her mind off her ex will be great for her, but not initially during the breakup process. She my need a few weeks to wallow in the loss of her relationship, before she feels confident and excited to hit the town again. Wait for her to say she’s ready, then help with the wild plans.

“Now you can concentrate on yourself.”
Um, what do you think she’s been doing during her spin classes, when following a clean eating diet and freelancing on top of her 9 to 5? We all know it’s possible to balance love with a successful career and a healthy lifestyle. Maybe she wanted to still be with him while focusing on herself, so pointing out that she now has more time to put herself first, my offend her if she’s someone who has always made an effort to take care of herself, whether she was in a relationship or not. Suggesting she add some cardio to her already consistent yoga routine for the endorphins or encouraging her to focus on her next career move is great, but just watch how you phrase your cheerleader words.

“At least this didn’t happen after you got married and had kids.”
Of course, ending a relationship once you’ve moved in together, walked down the aisle and had a child is heartbreaking, but that doesn’t mean the end of a relationship before saying “I do” is less hurtful.

“I know the perrrrrfect guy to set you up with.”
Once she says she is ready to date again, go on and set her up. But pushing other men on her too soon, even in a double date setting, may have her spilling too much about her failed relationship on a first date or crying if they get intimate, sending the new guy running as fast as he can.

What do you wish a friend hadn't said to you during a breakup? xo

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