How to Successfully Help a Friend Deal With a Breakup

Breakups come in many shapes and sizes.

Sometimes we're the ringleader of the split, and other times we're totally blindsided by the breakup.

But what can be almost as tricky as experiencing one for ourselves is being there for our besties when they go through this dramatic life event. We don't want to smother our friends with support, but we also don't want to give them too much space. And what exactly is the protocol on dissing the ex that we secretly hated all along?

Continue reading for tips on how to successfully help a friend who just got out of a relationship:

1. Walk the Balance Between Listening and Giving Advice

There are many major life events that as BFF's, require a balance between listening to the woes and blueprinting the recovery. When the breakup is fresh, it's important that you take a step back and let your girl talk it out. While advice is much needed, everyone can agree that it's much easier said than done. She'll appreciate your words of wisdom down the recovery road, but right now she probably just needs a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.

Jennifer Black Lightning, sad on couch

(Black Lightning via The CW)


2. Don't Diss the Ex Too Much

No matter what your true feelings about her (now) ex were all along, refrain from going full John Tucker on him. Many of us, especially when we were the ones dumped, want to immediately hate on our exes for crushing our poor delicate hearts, and it's customary for the friends to join in on this vent fest. Precede forward with caution because this can turn into a trap down the road. This is a phase that we all go through during breakups, and like all phases, it passes. Soon her vengeful feelings will slip away and all you'll be left with are the harsh words you said about her one true love.

This is particularly important in the case that your friend and her ex get back together. Now all those things you said are out in the open and it's likely your friend becomes resentful towards you when in reality you were just trying to protect your friend. While it's important to express the necessary causes for concern, definitely avoid telling your bestie that her ex had any number of physical or intellectual flaws, because there's just no going back from that.


3. Be Patient

This is probably the most important step in helping a friend through a breakup. If to err is human and to forgive is divine, then to be patient is straight up supernatural. Your friend is going to go through many different stages, and it may seem like nothing you do can make things better. Just let her feel what it is she's feeling and don't get frustrated when she acts against your advice. Like we mentioned above, giving advice is much easier than taking it. It may not look like it now, but everything you're doing and saying is really sinking it. It just takes a little time before you see the progress that's happening within.


4. Support Her With Time and Love

While talking it out is great and all, much of what she needs to feel comfort at this time is support in the way of your time, attention and love. Hang at her house, do homework together, and sure, feel free to get her little gifts like candy and small trinkets. Breakups, especially those of long-term relationships, are super tricky because everything in the world reminds us of our ex. Helping her make new memories with you is the best way she can begin letting go of the old memories with them.


5. Don't Judge

Along the same lines of remaining patient, it's also important that we don't judge our girl for anything she may do or say next. It's an established rule of thumb that talking to, texting and seeing our exes soon after a break up is a no-no, however everyone does it. Look, it's really hard to take one of the most important people in our lives and suddenly accept that they no longer belong there. Try not to get too judgmental, because TBH, we know we'd do the exact same thing. Which brings us to our next point…

Callie and AJ, The Fosters

(The Fosters via Freeform)


6. Be There for Her Second Broken Heart

Yes, this behavior is pretty much guaranteed to lead to a second broken heart. Eventually one or both of them will decide for good that they can no longer be together and your friend will have to accept that once and for all. Obviously the above behavior did nothing for her "moving on" process, so now it's time for that phase to begin. You may feel frustrated and like the breakup is starting all over again, but trust that she heard all of your advice the first time around and is now ready to take it. Again, patience is key.


7. Help Her (Finally) Move On

After all of the tears and feelings have seen the limelight, it's time to move forward. Help her on this path towards heartbreak recovery by encouraging (ahem, forcing) her to spend time with friends and get back to her normal routine. Many of us just want to wallow in a bed full of chocolate with the curtains drawn for all of eternity after a breakup, but this version of healing becomes a trap over time. Getting out and getting back to your daily life is the best remedy for a broken heart. Help her do so by taking small steps with her every day until she can take major leaps by herself.


8. But Avoid Rebounds

Rebounds work for some people (actually we aren't positive on that, the jury is still out), but it's probably a safe bet to avoid them anyway. A rebound crush is similar to a Band-Aid—it doesn't heal the wound, only covers it up for a bit. At a time like this, it's more important for your BFF to focus on herself and her friendships, so while helping her move on, don't press the importance of finding a new S.O. in the form of a rebound.

Betty and Archie kissing in a car

(Riverdale via The CW)


Relationships are always difficult to decode. If you're getting serious with your S.O., click HERE for eight things you may think are relationship red flags, but aren't.