How to Manage a Friend's Breakup

Be patient and understanding as your friend grieves her loss.Be patient and understanding as your friend grieves her loss.

It's tough when you have a friend going through a breakup. Her heart has been broken, she's in tears and you want to do everything in your power to comfort her. Managing a friend's breakup isn't a cake walk, but being there for her makes a world of difference in her healing process.

Build Your Friend Up

After a breakup, it can be easy for a person to feel overwhelmed with his loss and let it cloud the good in his life, marriage therapist Sheri Meyers tells the Huffington Post. Tell him why he's so great and remind him of all the positive things he has going for him. For example, you might tell him how you love his infectious laughter, his will to persevere or his willingness to go out of his way to help someone else. You might remind him how intelligent he is or how much talent he possesses.

Be There to Listen

A vital part of managing your friend's breakup is being there to listen to her. Sit back and let her talk about whatever is on her mind. Listen without being judgmental. Encourage her to share her feelings and grieve her loss, but don't offer advice unless she asks your opinion. Unsolicited advice can lead to repetitive conversations, and allowing her to go over the same topic a few times by herself can actually be more healing, asserts psychologist and certified life coach Sasha Carr on her website, The Breakup Coach. Utilizing short verbal cues, such as "I see" or "Ah-huh," can encourage her to continue talking.

Participate in Fun Activities

Although your friend is going through a rough time, it's important that you do things to get your friend's mind off of his breakup. Get him out of the house and away from wallowing in his sorrow. Interacting with other people is vital to recovery following a breakup, writes New York City-based counselor Nathan Feiles on PsychCentral. Though your friend may insist that he'd rather be alone, isolating himself can lead to a deeper sense of pain. Encourage him to join you in an activity that you both enjoy, such as going to a museum, taking a walk in the park or going to the zoo.

Set Boundaries for Yourself

Managing a friend's breakup can be an emotionally draining and time consuming situation for you. While you want to be there for your friend, it's important that you don't let her breakup take over your life. Setting boundaries and taking time to cater to your own needs is important, says Carr. As your friend is grieving her breakup, she may lean on you and call repeatedly throughout the day. Setting limits and taking an occasional break is an important part of taking care of yourself. For instance, if you're in the middle of something when she calls, it's ok to tell her that you will call back. It's also ok to limit the amount of time that she talks about her breakup. For example, you might say, "I know this is a really difficult time for you. How about you talk about the breakup for the next 15 minutes and after that we change the subject?"

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About the Author

Stacey Elkins is a writer based in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Masters in social work from the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she specialized in mental health.

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