It seems it’s nearly inevitable that at some point we all have a friend going through a divorce. The support we offer during that trying time can often set the precedence of the friendship going forward. The same holds true for someone battling a disease like cancer; whether you turn your back and quietly whisper or are brave enough to offer support shows not only the value or your friendship, but your true character.
So how can you help? First and foremost, be a good listener and offer emotional support. You don’t have to have all the answers, but listening intently and letting your friend know that you are there to listen or be a shoulder to cry on anytime, day or night, is important. Remind them that are worthy of happiness.
Constantly reassure them. Reassure them that a divorce is not a reflection of who they are. Reassure them that they are an amazing person, and that you are there for them whatever happens. Be aware of the divorce emotional cycle. Your friend will be feeling so many emotions that will constantly be changing. Reassure them that they have the right to their emotions and that healing is a long process that no one can put a timeline on. Have compassion and allow them their feelings and validate their need to process things in their own way. Remind them that divorce does not define a person.
Eating is probably not going to be at the top of their priority list, not to mention stomaching a full meal with a broken heart. Cooking for one is no fun, so providing them with small meals and healthy snacks can be helpful. Also if they have children to feed, providing meals they can quickly throw in the oven and not have to work about shopping and meal prep would be a huge help. Be adventurous – try a new food that you’ve never tasted before. Spice up your grocery list with 3 (healthy) new items to try.
Offer your friend a place to stay, help looking for a new house or apartment, moving help, etc. On top of possibly needing help physically packing or moving, ask if they need help getting things sorted out with bills, budgets, and finding a divorce support group.
Get out and about. Try new things. Say YES to something new. Activities are important. Take a walk together, try out a new restaurant, summer outdoor concerts, go for a bike ride, try out a new sport, and stick to the ones you love. Every day, learn at least 3 new words of a language you admire. Create a bucket list. Write down your biggest dreams – and take little steps in making them happen.
Be a positive part of their life. Offering support doesn’t have to mean spouse bashing, simply listening when they need to talk and planning activities to help them take their mind off things for a bit can be a world of help. Find the joy in the everyday.
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