Have you ever found yourself dispensing tissues and Chardonnay to a broken-hearted friend, all the while hating yourself for spewing meaningless phrases like “it just wasn’t meant to be” or “time heals all wounds”?
Breakups are the worst. No matter whether the truth is that you’re thrilled that she’s rid of her ex, or your dreams of a BFF double-wedding are shattered, your role is to help her make those first little baby-steps away from uncontrollable sobbing, towards normal functioning.
Resist the temptation to a) veer into furious outrage on her behalf, b) remind her of your own terrible breakup and subsequent happily-ever-after, or c) put on a fake chipper, upbeat front. These are all things that make the situation less uncomfortable for you, but are absolutely zero help to your friend.
The best things you can do as the designated shoulder to cry on:
– Validate your friend’s feelings by listening attentively while she vents
– Active nodding without interrupting, and
– When she pauses (or takes a break to blow her nose), sneak in some short supportive key phrases such as…
“It’s his loss.” (The damn truth.)
“You deserve better.” (This will boost her shaky confidence, especially if the evil ex comes crawling back while her defenses are down.)
“Now you have the control.” (Remind her that she is a competent, accomplished woman, and she can choose to let someone else’s actions devastate her, or not.)
“I am here for you.” (Unless she goes back to the evil ex. Just kidding.)
Your turn: What’s the most ridiculous breakup cliché someone ever said you?