How to Support a Friend Going Through Divorce
Your best friend just told you that she is filing for divorce. You have never been through a divorce. How do you respond? What can you do to help?
You may say things that you think are supportive, such as “You’re better off without him” or “You just need to get back out there.” However, these phrases can do more harm than good.
So how can you really help a friend who is going through a divorce? By being there for them. Here are some tips that can help.
Include Them in Plans
Ask your divorcing friend to go out for coffee. Going for a walk in the park? Ask them to come along. Sometimes they may say yes, other times they may decline your offer. In any case, don’t give up. Many people get excluded from activities once they get divorced, so don’t let that happen to your friend. Keep being a friend.
Does your friend have kids? Ask to babysit so they can have a few hours alone. Are they moving? Offer to help pack. Drop by with a meal. Cooking and caring for children can be chores. Getting help with these tasks can be very helpful to someone who is in the throes of divorce and is very emotional.
Don’t bring up someone else’s divorce. You don’t want to compare divorces, plus no two divorces are the same anyway. Your friend doesn’t want to hear about someone else’s problems. Their situation is unique, so just let them be heard.
Don’t Offer Advice
A lot of times, people just want to vent. They don’t want advice. They don’t want someone to tell them what to do. They just want someone to listen and show they care. If your friend does want professional advice, then refrain from giving any, especially if you never been through a divorce, Instead, refer them to a therapist or lawyer.
Be Careful What You Say
While you might be upset that your friend’s husband cheated on her or that your friend’s wife took off with the kids, don’t resort to badmouthing. Your friend may still love their spouse and if they have kids together, they will continue to be a part of each other’s lives for a long time. So keep quiet on your true feelings for the spouse and instead let your friend do the talking.
Support Their Stance on Dating
Some people wait years to start dating again, while others want to get back into the saddle right away. Don’t judge your friend. The best thing you can do is support them and back them up. Don’t press for details either. If they want to share details, and you’re interested in hearing them, then by all means get together to discuss.
Seek Legal Help
Those going through a divorce need a shoulder to cry on. They need someone to vent to about their feelings. They need someone to help them move forward.