Supporting or helping a friend through a divorce can be difficult since it’s hard to see someone you are so close with going through such a traumatic experience and be in their shoes to learn the level of stress and anxiety they’re dealing with.
However, what’s more challenging and frustrating is to stand on the sidelines, pondering upon how best to offer our support while your best friend is facing the wrath of a divorce alone.
Being a friend, we know it is our responsibility to help them survive the pain and provide a solution to make everything better. The problem is we may not always know-how, meaning, even with the best of intentions, we can misstep without even knowing it.
As the friend, providing that support to your best friend can be overwhelming emotionally, sometimes very time-consuming, and even frustrating for you at some point.
You want to be supportive, but at the same time, you also don’t want to overstep the boundaries. You will be cautious with your next move, making sure you don’t say anything wrong that would make your best friend more depressed, and you don’t want to seem judgmental. You would really don’t know how to approach such a situation and what to say to a friend going through a divorce.
Here are ten ways you can help your best friend going through a divorce without overstepping your boundaries.
Step 1: Listen First
When your best friend is going through his/her worst phase of life, it is your responsibility to help a friend through a divorce. The ideal way to begin is by listening first. Be all ears before giving out your opinion that might not be required considering your friend’s situation that you might not be aware of.
Let them vent out all the emotions and after that, try to understand their unique challenges and let them confide in the one person they trust the most. Sometimes, having someone who listens is the only thing they need.
Step 2: Ask Your Bestie What they Need or Want
When you are not sure how to offer support, the best thing you can do is ask. This lets your best friend know that you are there for them in their difficult phase of life.
Your friend may need you to be a shoulder to cry on, or they could be seeking a combination of love and practical guidance. Knowing this from the get-go makes your duty as that amazing friend so much easier.
Step 3: Avoid Giving Unnecessary Advice
One way to help your best friend is to minimize or avoid giving advice that may offend your friend. Your best friend who is in deep distress or trauma may not actually be looking for solutions but rather vent out the emotions kept inside for a long time.
So, you should be sensible enough not to give vague advice which is of no help to your best friend that might not be right for their situation.
Step 4: Get Them Out and Moving
When appropriate, find ways to help your best friend to surround them with positive things that can make them and eliminate them from all the negativities. Rather than sit around the house and sulk with them, take them out for a night out, splurge on a spa day, go for a small drive, organize a gathering with other friends and families. Make everything about them and create a positive environment.
Step 5: Do not Support Unhealthy Behavior
Are you constantly finding ways as to how to help a friend through a divorce? One of the best solutions is not supporting him/her in any unhealthy behavior that may cause problems later.
Not stopping the friend from an environment where anger and lashing out, heavy drinking, emotional eating, and avoiding social interactions are becoming a part of behavior is something that needs to be not supported.
Yes, you should be willing to accept the occasional mood swings, but as a best friend, you should make sure they do not resort to unhealthy behavior. Suppose you see that your best friend is doing a stupid thing like hurting themselves or getting habituated to toxic behavior. In that case, it’s your job to bring it to their attention and push them in a more positive direction.
Taking Sides is a “Big No”
You can be in an awkward situation when you are also friends with the ex-spouse. You may even feel like you must take sides. But you do not. You should stay neutral to avoid any hateful words and actions that only make the situation worse in such a situation.
Even if you think the ex-spouse is dead wrong for what happened, do not pick sides. Instead, focus on helping your friend heal and move forward.
Offer Help with “Daily Stuff”
This could be anything that makes your friend’s life easier. You could offer to babysit the kids, bring them food, clean their house, hire someone to clean their house), and even help them find a new job. When you are recently divorced, it is not easy to keep up with these things.
Be a Source of Information to Your Friend
A divorce can drain you out not only mentally but physically too. All you can do to help your best friend is by being a source of information. The process of a divorce can be excruciating and involves a lot of paperwork that needs to be sorted out. This can be stressful and time-consuming for your friend to do everything on their own.
One of the best ways to show support to your best friend is by gathering all court-related information and understand what needs to be done next. Read online about the court proceedings and talk to people who have gone through a similar situation.
Make them Part of Everything
When your friend is going through a difficult phase of his life like a divorce, you might feel awkward inviting to your family get-together or your anniversary dinner. But the truth is it is not. You can ask your best friend if he/she would be interested in joining.
It is totally up to your friend to decide whether they want to be a part of the celebration. These are some small things that can make your best friend connected to you and help them cope with the stress from a divorce.
Finally, it is important to know how your friend is connected with support systems. Is your best friend seeing a therapist? Is your best friend aware of such support groups in town? You must make sure that your best friend is getting all possible legal support and act as a support system during his/her entire divorce process.
Going through a divorce is perhaps the most difficult thing that someone will ever go through. Supporting your best friend through a divorce can be a rewarding experience for you. It is about supporting the other person and being there for them through some of the hardest moments of their life.
Also Read: How to Rejuvenate Yourself After Divorce