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What not to say to a friend going through a breakup



During these times, your friend doesn’t just need company; they need compassion, understanding, and patience.

As their friend, you’re in a position to offer comfort and support, but this must be approached with care.

This means not just being there to listen, but also knowing what to say and, just as importantly, what not to say.

Here are seven things you should avoid saying to a friend who is going through a breakup, along with suggestions on what to do instead.

While intended to remind your friend that there are other potential partners out there, this phrase can minimise their current feelings of loss and sadness. It might come off as dismissive of the relationship they valued.

Instead, acknowledge their pain and the significance of their loss. Let them know it’s okay to grieve the end of the relationship.

You might think you’re supporting your friend by discrediting their ex-partner, but this can make them feel embarrassed or foolish for having been in the relationship in the first place. It might also complicate their feelings if they’re still attached to their ex.

Focus on supporting your friend’s feelings and choices without passing judgment on their ex. If they initiate criticism of their ex, listen more than you speak.

Healing takes time, and everyone’s pace is different. Telling someone to “get over it” can make them feel like their emotions are invalid or that they’re failing at coping properly.

Instead, encourage them to take all the time they need to heal and offer your presence and support throughout their journey.

Even if this is true, your friend may not be ready to see it that way. They may still be in love with their ex or mourning the loss of the relationship, making such statements feel insensitive.

Remind them of their strengths and help them focus on self-care and their well-being.

Asking if they anticipated the breakup can lead to unnecessary self-blame or regret. It’s not helpful to have them analyse what went wrong at this vulnerable time. Be a listening ear. Allow them to share their feelings and story at their own pace, without pushing them to justify or analyse the breakup.

Jumping into a new relationship isn’t the solution for everyone right after a breakup. This suggestion might pressure them to move on before they’re ready. Encourage them to focus on themselves. Suggest activities you can do together that will help them rebuild their sense of self and enjoy life as a single person.

Minimising their experience won’t help your friend feel supported or understood. Even if the relationship was short-lived, it could have had a great impact on them. Instead, validate their feelings and the importance of the relationship in their life. Remind them that it’s okay to feel hurt and that you’re there for them, no matter what.

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