Well, they don’t say “breaking up is hard to do” for nothing, do they? But what many people have ignored is how hard a breakup can be for the friends and families of the couple as well. A good friend should see the breakup coming, and maybe even lend some encouragement to help his or her friend get over it. So then, you’re left with the question of what to say to friends after breakups, and it’s a toughie! Breakups are devastating and can take ages to get over, especially if it was a long-term relationship.
What to Say to a Friend After a Breakup
“I’m here for you.”
Of course, saying “I’m here for you” or any variation of it will sound cliché, but even if it makes you cringe when you say it, you should still say it. You need to make your endless support known to your friend who is likely going through one of the most devastating times of his or her life.
“There’s nothing wrong with you.”
Because there isn’t anything wrong with your friend, even if the ex-partner said there was. No matter what others said to hurt your friend, it’s now your job to try to undo it. It will take time, but try to help your friend realize again that he or she is worthy of love and respect, and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with him or her.
“Time heals all wounds.”
This is one your heartbroken friend probably doesn’t want to hear, but it’s also necessary and true. When your friend is feeling like it’s the end of the world, remind your dear friend of his or her last breakup and how much that sucked, but now he or she is still around to tell the tale. We can’t measure how much time it will take, but the good thing is that the sun shines every day and it will get easier day by day and month by month.
“You’re allowed to be sad.”
Even if the relationship was short or an intense fling or your friends were involved with someone they know they are better off without, people can still have deep sadness post-breakup. This can often make them feel ashamed. As you sort out what to say to a friend after a breakup, it is important to start with validating his or her feelings and supporting the efforts he or she makes to work through it.
"Today sucks, but tomorrow will be better."
Your newly single friend, while in despair, is most likely struggling to believe he or she will feel good at some random day in the future. Obviously, most breakups call for a long-term grieving, but your friend is likely to have ups and downs on the way back to feeling good. When having a bad day, remind him or her that it's healthy to have a day that just sucks because the next day will be better.
“You did your best.” or “You gave it your all.”
Make sure to tell your friends they did their best. One day, your friends will find that special someone who deserves them.
“You are strong/beautiful/capable.”
Often when going through a breakup, people tend to look in the mirror and focus on their flaws as what drove their partners away. As their friend, remind them of the beautiful and amazing qualities they have.
“It’s their loss.”
It’s your job to help your friends rise up, remind them that those who let go of their hands are just not good enough for them and promise them that they are so much better off.
While it may be easy to go on a social media rant, we know that won’t solve anything. Sometimes in the thralls of sadness or anger, some may think that’s the only way to get back at them. But it’s your job to encourage your friend to rise above and hold back until the emotions pass. You are there to help your friends not do anything they may regret later.
“There’s plenty of fish in the sea.”
When thinking of what to say to a friend after a breakup, there are a few standards and this is surely one of them. While at the moment, your friends may feel like there is no one else for them, but, the truth is, there are many wonderful people out there who want to be in the same type of committed relationship as your friends. Assure them, remind them of this fact and generally help them find the right sea to swim in.
“I can only imagine what you’re going through.”
Maybe you have been there before or experienced your own heartbreak. When the time is right, talk to your friend about your own experience but don’t overdo it. Let your friend know that he or she is not alone. But, what your friends are going through will, of course, feel more traumatic to them, so don’t compare directly. Just reassure them that you can imagine how hard it is and offer your shoulder.
“Let’s get drunk.”
If you’re not sure what to say to a friend after a break up, get started with liquid courage. Help your friends let loose, who may better vent their feelings and tell you what they are going through more frankly (just make sure to hang on to their phone/keys for the rest of the night).
Things to Notice When Consoling a Heartbroken Friend
Listen to them
Listening is your key task as your friend is likely to feel very confused and overwhelmed with sadness. Your friend needs to vent their emotions, and with you there really listening they will feel heard and this is one of the most impactful ways for you to help a heartbroken friend.
Through the good times and the bad, friends forever, right? Bad times are hard and it's time to be empathetic and lend a shoulder even if it means hearing the same sad story again and again. Being patient is a key way to show you care, and your friend will be grateful in the end.
Don’t talk about yourself
While it can be tempting to refer to an anecdote of your own when you are struggling about what to say to a friend after a breakup, try to reserve those stories for later. It often comes across as you are comparing or undermining the depths of your friends' situations. Give them time and make things all center on them.
Let your friend decide what’s best
Grieving is different for everyone, and ultimately your friends know themselves best. What worked for you or others may not work for them. So accept that they need to find their own time and ways to get better.
Let your friend be sad and angry
After getting passed the sad phase, anger is often right behind confusion and denial. Anger refers to the point at which your friend accepts the breakup. It is a sign they are processing the end of the relationship. Give them the freedom to experience this key step.