Breakups are never easy. They aren’t fun, are emotionally taxing and just suck in general. Lucky for you, you have me. I’m a professional when it comes to being there for my friends. Oh, I’m a hot mess going through a breakup myself. But I have always had a great gift of having my friends back when they go through heartache. I guess it comes from my personal philosophy of giving to others what I’d like to receive. You know, that “Do unto others..” yada yada
All jokes aside, there are times that you have to be counselor, motivator and coach when a friend is going through a breakup. There are a few things that we all should consider when being a good shoulder to lean on.
First, remember that not all break ups are the same. Just like not all relationships are the same. I would think this is a given, but I am always amazed when I hear someone say “Well, like when I broke up with XYZ, he did the same thing…” No he didn’t, Stephanie! We all love and grieve differently. And in essence, a break up is a loss. So what you went through and processed emotions, will be different from that of your friend. So remember to understand and accept that.
Second, don’t give your friend a timeline for their own healing. Read that again, and also apply it to your own life. Sure, it may take a few days, months or dare I say, years to get over someone. But that is on your friends own emotional calendar. All you can do is be supportive and honest with them. Sure, sulking for a year or more might be much. But unless you know the deep inner workings of their romance or unless the breakup involves kids or a marriage, time may heal all wounds and that time may take a while. So it’s not up to us to give a friend a deadline to deal with their emotions. But do make them bathe after the second day.
Next, sometimes your two cents isn’t necessary. If you’re like me, when you go through a break up, you think of about a million things that you did wrong. And getting outside criticism isn’t always helpful. You know what I mean. The “I told you so’s!” Judgement is criticism disguised as advice. So don’t put your negative Nancy view of love onto someone who is hurting. And finally, be present. Being there for your friend during a breakup has nothing to do with your own heartache, or crappy job or family issues. Be aware that this is their time to heal and your time to listen. I don’t say this often, but, it’s not all about you. Be a lending hand, a strong support, a warm hug and most importantly, the friend who brings over the good Bourbon.