Even if you never (if you are being totally honest) actually liked your best friend’s partner, whether they had been together for a long time or just a few months—and if you secretly feel as if their splitting up is the best possible outcome—now is most certainly not the time for telling them: “I told you so.”
Instead, it is your job as his or her best friend to help them through this time and to stay firmly by their side. With this in mind, continue reading to learn of six effective ways to help your best friend get over their breakup.
1. Assist Them with Daily Tasks
Depending on the level to which your friend has been affected by the split, it may well be the case that they feel unable to motivate themselves, or indeed even find the energy, to complete daily and mundane household tasks and chores.
If so, you could consider either telling them you are coming around twice or three times a week in order to either cook them a meal and spend a few hours with them, or else send them an online grocery delivery for the week ahead.
2. Suggest Talking to a Therapist
Hopefully, the break-up of your best friend and their partner is not an event that six months down the line, will be impeding their ability to go to work and socialize—but in some cases, this can indeed happen.
If you can see no great improvement in the overall mood and energy levels of your friend, it may well be helpful to suggest, tactfully and subtly, that they consider speaking to a professional about how they feel and what is happening in their head.
Additional reasons to talk to a therapist include, among a host of others, the following:
- Experiencing a significant and new change in life
- A sense of foreboding and persistent low mood
- Social relationships are hard to maintain
- A need and desire to isolate
- An overall feeling of no control in life
- Substance abuse
- The death of a close friend or family member
3. Be Careful Not to Minimize Their Emotions
Everyone knows what it can feel like when you are pouring out your feelings to a friend, a member of your family, or even your own partner; and when they try and comfort you, it can come across as not only dismissive but also more than a little patronizing and condescending.
The overall aim of the game when supporting and comforting your best friend is to focus on always conversing in a casual way with, crucially, a non-confrontational tone. If you are struggling to know what to say and for ways to approach the subject, the following prompts may well help you:
- Will it help you to talk through what happened on the day?
- Is there any way in which I can make you feel less sad about this?
- What is bothering you the most about what happened?
- Do you want to show me what happened? (If they have texts on their phone, for example)
4. Let Them Talk Through Why it Ended
Although totally different in severity, it is true to say that the fall-out and emotional attachment from a break-up can follow a similar pattern to the matter of grief and as such, part of the process of getting over the end of a relationship is to help your friend dissect what went wrong.
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Allow your friend to talk to you in detail, with the likely addition of consistent repetition, about how it ended and how they feel it could have been different, presuming, of course, that your friend was not the one who gladly finished it.
5. Encourage Reinvention (in Time)
In the first few days and (depending on the severity and individual situation of the split) maybe even the first few weeks, thinking of the future will only make your friend feel sad and nostalgic.
Even though everyone is different and each unique situation results in a different outcome, as a general rule, getting over the trauma of a break-up from a long-term relationship takes the average person around three months.
However, at the first sign that your friend is starting to seem a bit brighter and appears to be looking towards the future, even if this only encompasses being open to arranging to meet with other friends outside of the house, it is the time to remind them how this would be a great time to draw a line and induce a fresh start.
Perhaps they could start indulging in a hobby which they have not had time to do in the past few years, or take up a new class each week, or even take themselves out shopping and have a new haircut.
6. Don’t Forget to Look After Yourself
For anyone, when comforting and generally being the primary support for a friend who is going through any kind of person, or indeed a professional, crisis, it can be an untold emotional strain on them as well.
To avoid the depletion of your own emotional health and well-being levels, you must also ensure you are looking after your own mental health in the process. Moreover, if your friend starts to rely on you too heavily, then it is important to stay aware of this and learn how to say no, albeit kindly if the demands on your time become too much.
Another way to protect yourself during this time is to speak to a mutual friend of both of yours to also help support them in their hour of need and to come along with you when you visit to share the emotion together.