We all want to be a good friend and it is when we are at our lowest ebb that we most need a shoulder to cry on. Having a ‘ride or die’ that you can rely on to support you is the best gift in life, but however much you love your best friend, there are times where you feel out of your depth and don’t know how to give them the support they need. If your friend tells you they are getting divorced, here is how you can help.
Be a Listening Ear
It is a well-known phrase that we have two ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we talk, and this is never truer than when a friend is in need. Talking can be therapeutic, especially when we feel safe, so your friend may open up more to you than to a therapist, doctor or lawyer.
Be a Level Head
Your friend will be emotional and probably struggling to process everything that is happening in their life. Help them make sensible choices so they have no regrets about how they have managed the situation, but deal with the facts. Telling them “This is why you need a divorce attorney” and following up with a list of reasons such as “for their expertise,” and “because your ex might not give you what you deserve” can help empower and inform, which is particularly important if your friend finds decision making hard or has poor judgement.
Your friend will be adjusting to the thought of life as a singleton which may leave them feeling lonely or isolated. Making yourself available when possible is a great way to support your friend. This could be as simple as sending a message each morning to check in with them, reminding them they can call you at any time of the day or night or letting them sleep in your spare room until they find a new home.
Supporting someone who is going through a major life upheaval can be tiring, especially if you feel you are listening to the same conversations on repeat. This can often happen when someone has suffered a trauma and is a way of them processing the event. Be patient with them and accept fluctuations in their thoughts and emotions.
Gifts can’t make up for the pain of a relationship breakdown, but they can raise a smile. Thoughtful gifts are often well-received when someone is in a fragile mindset and needn’t be expensive. Some of the most popular presents are free (such as letters showing support or handpicked flowers from your yard) or inexpensive (a bar of their favorite chocolate or a surprise ticket to the movie theater). Often, it’s not the present that matters – it is knowing that someone is thinking of them.
Knowing you have a friend who has your back is priceless and, if you are supporting a friend through divorce, they will appreciate you being there in their time of need.