A few weeks ago I received a call from one of my closest friends. She explained through tears that her years-long relationship just has come to the end. She was shocked, angry and overall, awfully sad. I felt so bad for her and wanted to do something to help her feel better.
Going through a breakup can be very stressful experience. So I started thinking of the most effective ways to make her happier. And I came up with a few things that I believe might work for her. In fact, I’ve already tried some of them out and I can tell that my dear heartbroken friend has responded very well to them. So, if you have a friend who has recently gone through a harsh breakup, maybe you want to try some of these for her or him too.
1. Be a good listener
The best thing you can do if you want to help your friend with a broken heart is to listen to them, keeping away your own opinions of what is just and what is not. After a breakup your friend will be experiencing mixed emotions and will probably need to vent about the hurting experience.
Furthermore, your friend will probably search for the answers to numerous questions after a breakup. Although you most likely won’t have the answer for them, show respect to your friend’s feelings by patiently listening to them.
Listening to your friend will show them that you care. Even if they are telling you the same story over and over again (it can be exhausting, I know!), listen to what they say. Because knowing that someone cares for us in the times of sadness and confusion has a huge healing power.
2.Distract your friend’s attention
Organize a movie night, pajama party at your home or a dinner in a posh restaurant. Stay active together. Take your heartbroken friend for long walks or swimming. Take tennis lessons together. Sign up for a new hobby. This can include anything from salsa classes, photography to surfing. Anything that both of you enjoy and share interest for will help your friend feel better.
Plus, you will have a lot of fun doing something new together. My friend and I signed up for Latin dances classes a few days ago and we are having so much fun! I can see that my friend is truly enjoying and that makes me sooo happy.
Or ask your friend to help you with some tasks at home or school/work related. Anything that will help them distract attention will do.
3.Let your friend acknowledge his/ her feelings
Allow your brokenhearted friend to express their feelings after a breakup. It’s always more pleasant to hear “What happened was terrible and I’m sorry that you are made to go through this” than “Why are you crying for that jerk!? He’s/ She’s not even worth your tears” cause your friend most likely already knows whether or not their ex was a jerk or not but what they’re seeking for is validation of their feelings without any judgement. If they want to cry, let them cry. Don’t try to comfort them with phrases like “You shouldn’t cry for what you lost” or similar. They are going through a process of grief and they need to express their feelings as a part of that process.
Don’t judge them for their meltdowns or anger outbursts. As long as they are not in danger of hurting themselves or others, these reactions are okay, especially in the time immediately after a breakup.
4.Plan a trip together
Surprise your friend. Book a weekend away or a short vacation to some exotic destination. Go away alone or with a few other friends. This will make a more than welcomed twist in your friend’s everyday routine and distract them from their situation. Show your friend that life can be fun again. In fact, make sure to have as much fun as possible while you are away.
5.Steer your friend from bad decisions
Don’t let your friend humiliate herself or himself by getting too drunk and calling their ex in the middle of the night. Don’t let your friend intimidate their ex or do anything that will make them regret it later.
Of course, your friend is an adult person who can take care of herself. However, sometimes people don’t think or act rationally. Especially when they are hurt and all the defenses are down. And that’s when you come into the picture. It is not that bad to be your friend’s angel guardian in these hard times. I’m sure they will know to appreciate that.
Furthermore, don’t let your friend rush from one relationship into another or do something similar just to make their ex jealous.
Your friend might get angry with you if you try to interfere too much. So, make sure you know how not to cross the line when talking about your friend’s privacy. I always make sure my friend is comfortable with my actions before I do anything for her. Just to be on a safe side.
6.Encourage your friend to follow no contact rule after a breakup
One of the most important things after a breakup is not staying in touch with the ex. Encourage your friend to refrain from initiating a contact with their ex. No contact rule after a breakup includes no calling, texting or emailing their ex. Furthermore, it means absolutely no stalking them or contacting their friends and family.
Also, ensure she/he doesn’t stalk the ex on social media. These days a lot of people stalk their exes on social media or phone. Advice your friend to ‘unfriend’ and block his/her ex on social media.
Contacting ex-partner will just make the healing process harder for your friend. It will give them false hopes and won’t allow them to reflect their feelings and move on with their life. Remove their ex’s number from your friend’s phone.
7.Inspire your friend to adhere to healthy habits
Call your friend for a morning run together. Invite him/her over for a tasty and healthy meal. Make an energizing smoothie for both of you. Make sure your friend stays away from excessive drinking, exhausting diets and similar things that can harm their overall well-being.
Advise them to get enough sleep and exercise regularly, even if they don’t feel like it. Just a short walk or an hour of swimming will stimulate hormones of happiness and make your friend feel better.
8.Help with everyday details
If your friend feels too overwhelmed and lethargic after a breakup, help them with their everyday chores. Do a shopping for them from time to time or help them to clean their house. Day-to-day errands are boring even for people that are not going through a breakup.
So, have the understanding if you find your friend’s home messy and their laundry undone. Suggest finishing these tasks together. Put some music on while you’re working and order a dinner afterwards. Offering to help with some basic necessities can mean to your friend even more that you might think.
9.Encourage your friend to seek counseling if needed
It might happen that your friend’s healing after a break up takes too long and disturbs their normal functioning. If your friend is struggling too much after a break up, advise them to reach out for professional mental health counseling.
Your friend can choose between many counseling options available today. Regardless they opt for a traditional, in-office counseling sessions or convenient online counseling, they might benefit from professional help in coping with a breakup.
Make sure you give your friend enough time to process the information and reflect their feelings after a breakup. Don’t be pushy. Don’t insist on the activities that your friend is not ready for. All the mentioned ways to cheer up your friend count only as long as your friend is willing to take part in them.
The healing process after a breakup takes time. And different people take different time to heal. You cannot force your friend to be active and happy if she or he doesn’t feel like it. Allow enough time for heartache. Allow your friend to go through grief process on their own pace and be there to support them and cheer them up. Let your friend know that you are there for them. They will feel a lot better knowing that they have a great friend by their side.
If you find your friend needs professional support to deal with their breakup, ask them to get in touch with us anonymously and get help from expert relationship counsellors who can help them through their difficult phase at Askmile.com.