Watching your BFF suffer after a breakup is painful. Whether the breakup has been a long drawn out process or if it was unexpected, your friend’s feelings of sadness, disappointment, anger, and loneliness are valid. Long-term or short-term, no one knows her personal connection to the relationship except her. It is important to be sensitive and understanding, even if you don’t understand it. Maybe he cheated on her or mistreated her in other ways, and you are happy the loser is gone. Your inner thoughts may be screaming “Thank GOD”!
On the other hand, you may have been close friends with both parties or even idolized them as the perfect couple. In a sense, it is also a breakup for you. You may feel torn between your friends that were a couple and feeling the disappointment as well. However, first things need to come first. Read on to find the best ways you can support your BFF after a breakup.
Let Your BFF Know You Are Available
Although it may sound cliché, saying “I’m here if you need me” is exactly what you need to do. Saying it isn’t enough. Mean it, and don’t say it if you don’t. If your schedule is jammed packed and have your own issues going on, simply tell her you will do what you can to be available. This can include inviting her to do things you have to do anyway. She still has a chance to vent and you are still taking care of your personal obligations. After a breakup, it could help her to get out and continue to do daily tasks. This will keep her from holing up alone and drowning in the sea of misery.
If face-to-face support is not an option, be available to talk to her by phone, FaceTime, or even by promptly returning text messages. However when at all feasible, carve out time to spend one-on-one time with her. Remember your last gut-wrenching breakup? Keep that in mind and try to make as much time for her as you can.
Let Her Talk
After a breakup, this is not the time for “ping-pong” conversation with your BFF. Allow her to take the floor and just listen. Avoid interrupting at all costs. She needs to get her feelings out without your input. It might be hard to bite your tongue and refrain from reminding her about all the asshole moves he made during the relationship, but it is necessary. On the contrary, fight the urge to defend the other party even if you have a friendship with him. No one wants to hear any of that when they are going through a devastating heartbreak.
So how do you fill in conversation gaps? Pause for about 30 seconds and if she doesn’t continue what she is saying, it is fine to ask questions. Asking questions relays concern and the desire to understand her feelings. Do not give advice. It is not the time for that right now. Advice can come later, but for now it is about her own expression of the breakup.
Give Them Space
Yes, you should be available. Yes, you should let them talk. However, you also want to give them space. You don’t need to call 10 times a day or send 20 texts. Let her have some time to herself. She is essentially going through a grieving process and she will need time to heal by herself. Again, keep in mind how you felt after a breakup. Chances are there were times you just wanted to be alone and cry in your pillow. This is healthy and part of the process.
No one wants to be alone after a breakup, however no one wants anyone straight up their ass either. Think about it- if you don’t give your friend some space to sort out her feelings, then the grieving process may continue longer. Finding a balance between comforting her and allowing her to have alone time is critical after a breakup. The goal is to help her get back on her feet in a healthy timeframe.
Setting boundaries with yourself and with your BFF are important after a breakup. You can’t get lost in your mission to support her, while neglecting your own commitments. Of course we all want to be there for our best friend when she needs us, especially during something like this. Do what you can, but remember she does have other friends that will come forward to help. Encourage mutual friends to do so if needed.
While it may be tempting to drop everything and run to her beck and call, you have to take care of yourself as well. Decide ahead how much of your personal time you are able to dedicate and make her aware of this from the start. This goes back to telling her you will do what you can to help.
When you are in the situation that you are friends with both parties, set clear boundaries that you will not relay messages between the two of them. I cannot emphasize this enough! Do not fall into this trap! You may be upset with one (or both) of them for their actions towards the other that caused the breakup in the first place. Do not take sides. This is not your relationship. Although you may have witnessed a great deal of it, there is a lot you will never know. Make sure both of them know from the get-go that you are not the middleman.
It can get a little frustrating when it seems your BFF isn’t making any progress after a breakup. You feel that she should be ready to start hanging out again and doing all the fun things you normally enjoy together. Be patient and remember that everyone heals at their own pace. Don’t compare your own process to hers. While it is understandable to urge her along, be sensitive about your approach.
Keep in mind that this is temporary. Be there for her during this period after a breakup and you will strengthen your bond. Better times are on the way!
How have you helped your BFF after a breakup? What has your BFF done that helped you after your own split? Share below in the comments.
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essica Hope Murphy is a student at Ashford University studying English and Journalism & Mass Communications. If she isn't writing, she is fishing, cooking, or entertaining friends. In addition to Society19, her work can be found on Points In Case, Cracked Mirrors Online, LinkedIn, Murphy Review, and in The National Library of Poetry.