Friends Don’t Ditch Friends

What if you aren’t the one going through a divorce, but you have a friend who is? How do you support your friend through this difficult time?

Often when something is uncomfortable, we don’t know how to respond and so maybe we avoid our friend. It’s so common for people going through a divorce to say that they stopped getting invitations. But ignoring them at a time when they need our friendship the most, is the last thing you should be doing.

So what can you do? Here are my tips on how to support your friend through a divorce:

So how do we be a friend when someone is going through a divorce? I have 5 tips:

  1. If you haven’t been through it, you won’t understand so don’t try and pretend you do. Ok? Acknowledge that you don’t understand but tell them you support them. Sometimes, they just need to know they aren’t alone at a time that is so overwhelming and scary.
  2. Offer to help in a concrete way. Maybe you bring dinner over. Maybe you take the kids so your friend can have a night to relax or cry or whatever kind of self-care he or she needs in that moment.
  3. Don’t bash the ex. I know the temptation is great. But telling your friend that you never liked their spouse or you saw it coming is not helpful even if your intentions are good. This could only fuel anger and hurt and heighten your friend’s emotions when they are already fragile.
  4. Don’t judge! Whatever your personal feelings about divorce are, keep it to yourself. I remember telling someone I knew I was getting divorced and they responded by telling me divorce was evil and said something along the lines that I was going to hell. Wow, thanks buddy. That made me feel good. Don’t do that. You have no idea what someone is going through or what is happening in another home.
  5. Stay out of it! There are some of us out there who are peacemakers. We don’t like conflict and our reaction when we see it, is to try and fix it. I promise you, no good deed goes unpunished. There professionals out there to negotiate. If you are asked to, just say, “I don’t think its appropriate that I get involved.”

Remember, you will never know the internal struggle the couple has gone through or what individual fears your friend has. Be there. Be supportive. ….and don’t ditch them even if you are uncomfortable.

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