How to Help a Friend Through a Breakup

Breakups are never easy, but it can be especially tough to see a friend going through one. You want to do everything you can to support them, but it can be difficult to know what to do for them. We’ve put together some tips for helping your friend get through their breakup and come out on the other side of it. Whether it’s your close friend, best friend, or a family member who is going through a breakup, we’ve got the tips you need to help them through this hard time.

The Grieving Process

The grieving process is often thought of as something that happens when someone dies, but it can also occur after a major loss, such as a breakup. After all, when you break up with someone, you’re essentially losing them forever. 

While the specifics may vary from person to person, there are generally five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It’s important to recognize the steps of the grieving process to learn how to help your friend feel better.

your friend might go through these 5 stages of grief when they end their relationship

Denial

In the first stage, denial, people may try to convince themselves that the breakup didn’t really happen or that they will get back together. They may say things like “this is only a temporary separation” or “we’ll get back together soon.” As a friend, you can try to be supportive by listening to them. This isn’t the time to start pushing them to accept the breakup. However, you shouldn’t support their delusions about the future. 

Anger

Denial is followed by anger, which can be directed at the other person or even themselves.  Your friend may become enraged when thinking about their ex and everything they have put them through. They might also become angry at themselves for things they did or didn’t do in the relationship.

They may start to see the world as a whole in a more negative light. As a friend, you can help by listening to their anger and being understanding. You can also try to help them see the positive side of the breakup and the new opportunities it opens up for them.

Bargaining

Once the initial disbelief and anger have begun to dissipate, people may enter into a stage of bargaining in which they try to negotiate with their ex or make deals with themselves. For example, they might promise to change their behavior if their ex will take them back.  As a friend, you can help them by being the voice of reason and reminding them that they cannot control the other person and that the breakup happened for a reason. They shouldn’t try to make major changes in hopes that their ex will come back to them.

Depression

The fourth grieving stage is depression. During this stage people may feel hopelessness and despair. They may withdraw from friends and family, stop taking care of themselves, and dwell in their negative thoughts and feelings. This is a very difficult stage to see a friend go through. It is important to be there for them and offer support. You can help by being patient, listening to them, and encouraging them to seek professional help if necessary.

Acceptance 

Finally, in the acceptance stage, people come to terms with the reality of the breakup and begin to move on with their lives. They may still feel sad from time to time, but they are able to function and start to build a new life without the other person. As a friend, you can help by being supportive and positive as they take this new step in their life.

Though it is not always linear, these are the general steps that people go through when grieving a relationship. It is important to be patient with your friend and let them go through the process at their own pace. Depending on the severity of the breakup, it may take weeks or even months for them to reach the acceptance stage.

Tips for Helping Your Friend Get Through a Breakup

Anyone who has ever had a broken heart knows that it is a painful experience. It can be hard to eat, sleep, or even think straight. All of the negative thoughts and feelings a person goes through during a tough breakup can lead to severe depression. So, it’s really important to support your friends when they are dealing with their relationship ending.  

If you have a friend who is going through a tough time, there are things you can do to help. Everyone is different and will need different types of support. Even the closest friends will deal with situations in different ways. For example, some people might need more time to grieve quietly while others will benefit more from going out and having fun. You know your good friend the best. So, use these tips to come up with an action plan to form the best support system to help them get through their breakup. 

how to help your friend get through their breakup

Here are the best ways to help a friend through a bad breakup.

Just Be There for Them

Just being there for someone who is going through a breakup can be the best thing for them. Your friend just lost a relationship with someone close to them and this can make them feel very lonely. So, let them know that you are there for them and that you care. You don’t have to say much, just being present is a good way to support them. Being their sounding board is a great way to offer them the emotional support they need.

Don’t Give Unsolicited Advice

For some reason, everyone has the right answer for what someone needs to do after a breakup. Don’t try to fix things or tell them what to do. Instead, listen to your friend and let them talk about their feelings. This is a time for them to vent and get things off their chest. They will appreciate your willingness to just listen without trying to fix the situation or offer your opinion. Your friend’s feelings are the most important thing right now and the last thing you want to do is put the spotlight on your thoughts about their situation.

Be a Positive Distraction

When your friend is going through a break up, they are most likely being taken out of their normal routine. They may have had things that they did with their significant other that aren’t an option anymore. Be available to have some fun with them. This could mean simply watching a movie and eating ice cream. Or they might want to go out and dance the night away.

If they have been staying at home a lot, a change of scenery can really help boost their mood and combat negative emotions. Get them out of their house when they are comfortable with it. Try to plan some fun things that they will enjoy that don’t make them think about their ex. The goal is to help your friend take their mind off the breakup and have some fun.

help distract your friend from their breakup

Keep Their Mind Off Of Their Ex

Even if they didn’t have a bad or toxic relationship, keeping contact with their ex can hinder your friend’s healing process. Your friend’s ex might be popping up on their social media and even flaunting a new relationship or their newly-single, fun and free life. Encourage your friend to take a social media break or at least hide their ex’s posts. This way they can develop healthy boundaries and won’t be tempted to check in and see what their ex is up to and who they are hanging out with.

Offer Practical Help

The end of a relationship can make the simplest things feel like overwhelming tasks. You can help your friend by doing things like cooking meals or running errands. You can also offer to help get chores done around their home while they are recovering. If they aren’t keeping up with chores and tasks, things can build up and lead to anxiety and depression.Practical gestures can be a big help to someone who is going through a tough time by taking some of the burden off of them and giving them less to worry about.

Encourage them to Seek Professional Support

If you notice that your friend is stuck in the depression portion of the grieving process, it might be time for them to get professional help. A therapist can provide valuable insight and guidance during this difficult time. It’s often very helpful to get an outside perspective on things. 

You can gently encourage them to seek therapy or go to support groups. If they are having dark thoughts, it is important to get them help immediately.

Help Them Stay Connected With Friends and Family

During a breakup, it is easy for someone to isolate themselves. They may not want to go out and be around people because they fear running into their ex or they just don’t want to answer questions about the breakup. Check in with your friend often and encourage them to stay connected with their other friends and family members.

A bad breakup can be a really tough thing for someone to go through. But, with the right support system, they can get through it. Social support will be crucial during this time. So, make sure they are interacting with the people who care about them.

Encourage Them to Take Care of Themselves

Make sure your friend is taking care of themselves during this difficult time. This includes eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Now is not the time for them to let their health suffer or form unhealthy habits. Doing healthy things will help promote positive thoughts and feelings.

So, encourage your friend to focus on their wellbeing. This includes limiting alcohol and other unhealthy things. Help them spend their time being productive. You can offer to attend exercise classes with them or find a fun place to go walking or hiking to get them out and moving.

make sure your friend is taking care of themselves

Help Them Find Their Hobbies Again

Your friend’s hobbies may have taken a backseat during their relationship. Now that the relationship is over, they may not know what they enjoy doing anymore. Help them find their hobbies again or find new ones. This can help take their mind off the breakup and give them a sense of purpose.

Encourage Them to Get a Fresh Start

This includes getting rid of anything that reminds them of their ex. They might want to change up their wardrobe, hairstyle, or even their living situation. This can be a really positive change for them and help them move on from the breakup.

Help Them Meet New People

When they are ready, encourage your friend to get back out there and meet new people. They might not be ready to date yet, but meeting new friends can help them feel better and focus their attention on new people. This can help them see that there are other people out there that they have the opportunity of forming new relationships with.

FAQ

What should you say to a friend going through a breakup?

Finding the right words to say to someone going through a hard breakup can be difficult. Don’t focus on saying the exact right thing or wrong thing. Just tell them that you are there for them and offer your support. Just being there for them is the best thing you can offer. 

What should you not say to someone going through a breakup?

You don’t want to make the situation any worse when someone is going through a breakup. Be careful not to minimize their feelings by making the situation seem silly or irrelevant. There are a few things you shouldn’t say to someone going through a breakup:

  • Don’t tell them it was for the best.
  • Don’t compare their breakup to another break up.
  • Don’t say that they will find someone else.
  • Don’t tell them that they should get over it.
  • Don’t tell them that you saw it coming. 

How do you comfort a broken hearted friend?

The best way to comfort a broken-hearted friend is by being there for them. Listen to them, offer your support, and let them know that you care. Sometimes, just being there for someone is the best thing you can do.

What is the best advice for a broken heart?

The best advice for a broken heart is to take your time and heal. Don’t try to rush into another relationship. Be patient with yourself and grieve the loss of the relationship in your own time. Eventually, you will be ready to move on.

Final Thoughts

Going through a breakup is tough, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. With the right support system, your friend can get through this difficult time. A true friend will just be there for them, listen to them, and offer practical help when needed. 

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