What To Do When Your Friend Goes Through A Bad Breakup

From the Desk of Sarah Nadler Troutdale, Oregon

Hey there!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - there is SO MUCH false influence in society. Those of us who are trained in how to help people must do our part to counteract it.

When I was a teen, I noticed my stepfather (a pastor and counselor) often wrote to the editor of the magazines and newspapers he liked to read.

Life Coach Sarah Nadler Shares How to Care For A Friend A Crisis Of The Heart

He would offer advice to the columnists, countering false information they stated, and drawing on his knowledge as a minister and decades of pastoral counseling.

Occasionally his comments were published.

I have found a lot of joy in continuing his work.

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For those who are new to the blog, Sarah Nadler is a Life Coach & inspirational speaker with twelve years of experience helping clients reach relationship, career and Big Hairy Audacious life goals. Her work has been featured on Enterprise Podcast Network, The Sierra Leone Times, and her latest book Walking Past Expectations was rated #6 on Lifney's list of Best Books to Read On The Beach This Summer 2019.

"The true problem is this: the use of things like drugs, alcohol or a rebound later becomes a crutch."

Here is one I saw recently in UpJournal. The question was: "How do you help a friend deal with a breakup?"

Of course lots of people were answering with things like "rebound sex", "take them out for a night on the town", etc.

The problem with that behavior is not just that it's immoral. Really, as a Certified Life Coach, I've seen and heard it ALL!

The true problem is this: the use of things like drugs, alcohol or a rebound later becomes a crutch.

Also, it fails to address the underlying cause for the pain - instead it is much like a painkiller or anti-depressant. Would you give someone who has been shot in the stomach a painkiller and leave them to bleed out and die? No, of course not.

So why do we do it to our friends?

Here is my answer to the original question (which was later published in UpJourney):

How To Actually HELP Your Friend When They're Dealing With A Bad Breakup

"...the greatest help you can give them is to listen."

Trying to help a friend through a breakup can be a thankless task. The emotional curve of ups and downs - first grief, hostility, then anger and "I'm over it", are a trial by fire for any friendship!

I recommend putting your BFF 'hat' on and letting them first get off their chest what they're feeling.

At this stage, you want to keep your comments to acknowledgement and encouragement to talk, without offering any real advice or opinions of your own unless asked.

Try to avoid disagreeing with your friend, even if what they say sounds pretty off. You don't need to agree or disagree, just acknowledge. Statements like "I really hear you," can go a long way.

After the initial emotion has run its course, your friend might try to explain away what has happened.

Again, the greatest help you can give them is to listen, and ask questions that make them think it through, without trying to dictate what they "should" be thinking, or feeling about the breakup. The more you let your friend come to their own conclusions, the better off they'll be in the long run.

That being said, as a friend I highly encourage you not to allow them to speak negatively about themselves, put themselves down, or lay the blame too heavily on the other person either.

Try to keep all the conversation on how things will be better, or different, in the future - not regretting the past.

If you can, get your friend to engage in worthwhile activities. Exercise, a creative project, or new business schemes are good ideas - not activities that will later become a crutch to them, such as drugs, alcohol or rebounding.


About the Author

I'm Sarah Nadler and I help small business owners achieve work/life balance by increasing their revenues in a way that does not decrease their time.