"How do I help my best friend through a really rough breakup?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
This is hard. It’s hard for a few reasons. First, you’re watching someone you love feel hurt. Which is the THE WORST. Seeing someone hurt so badly and knowing there really isn’t anything you can do to fix it. It’s an awful feeling.
It’s also hard to tell you what to do. Different people need different things and I can’t tell you exactly what your best friend needs. I can, however, tell you that you being the best friend you’ve always been is a great start. If you guys normally watch Veronica Mars and eat Swedish Fish, do that. If you guys normally go to Waffle House at 2am and eat cheesy eggs, do that. If you guys pass notes through your entire lit class, do that.
Don’t have a constant look of pity on your face. Don’t offer to set your friend up on a blind date immediately. Don’t get wasted and avoid talking about it because it makes you uncomfortable. Just be the great friend that you have always been. Talk when your friend wants to talk, sit in silence when your friend wants silence. Ask questions. It’s hard to know exactly what we need in that situation, but I know when I’m super sad I at least have the ability to be like “Can you just come over and watch Mean Girls with me?” or “Is it okay if I just hang out by myself tonight?”
It’s going to be rough, but as long as your friend knows that you’re there, you’re doing a great job.
This really is hard.
I think that the first thing to know is that you are this person’s best friend because, fundamentally, you love each other and understand each other in ways that many people cannot. Even though it is easy to doubt yourself in these moments when you can’t “fix” the problem, remember that your presence, your words, your very existence is helping mend that broken heart.
I agree with Dannielle’s call for consistency. When your heart is broken, the whole world feels unfamiliar and rocky and grey and sad. Imagine that you are like one of those brightly colored bouys in an otherwise stormy sea. Don’t give up hope that your friend will eventually feel better, don’t stop asking them to come out with you, come over to watch a movie, or join you in meals of *cringes* cheesy eggs.
What’s more, pay closer attention to your BFFs needs than you have in the past. You can tell when someone is saying they are hopeless and what they need is hope and positivity, and you can tell when someone is saying they are hopeless and they just need someone to put an arm around their shoulder and say, “This is awful. I completely understand.” In my personal opinion, the most powerful way to be a best friend when someone is hurting is to find moments to be both positive andunderstanding.
We have all been there. Heartache takes time, above all else. So, be comforting, be understanding, be hopeful, be yourself… but most of all just be there. The rest tends to come naturally, when you let it.