Divorce. This is a hard topic to know what to say and how to help when someone you know is going through it. We are hoping this list of what to say and what not to say will help whether you know someone who is currently going through this or if it comes up in the future. Thanks to our friends and family who have contributed their thoughts to this post.
*This is in the context of a female going through a divorce but is the same for a male.
WHAT TO SAY/DO:
-Be encouraging. Don’t make her feel like this is it and her life is over. Tell her this pain won’t last forever and she can do this.
-Assure her that she deserves to be happy. Help her find some happiness in the coming weeks and months ahead.
-Ask if she wants to talk about it. If she wants to she will. If she doesn’t, she won’t.
-Offer to do something together and set up a time.
-If she has kids offer to help with them for a morning or afternoon.
-Remind her how amazing she is. This is a time when she is feeling low. Help her know how loved and great she is.
-Be a good listener. If you are offering your shoulder to cry on then mean it. Be available and willing to listen for the right reasons; it is for your friend and not your own curiosity. Respect the fact that she may not want to talk to you about this but continue to be there for her.
-Suggest a great therapist if you know one. Spread the love.
-Check in. Send a text letting her know you are thinking of her. Drop treats by. Invite her to a group outing but don’t be offended if she doesn’t show up. Being invited goes a long way.
-Do share your love for her. She needs this more then you know.
-Give her time. This time is different for everyone and don’t pressure her to be back to her old self ASAP
WHAT NOT TO SAY/DO
-“I heard through the grapevines that…what happened!”
-“I would just die if that happened to me”
-“I always felt something was off with you guys”
-Don’t tell her how she should be feeling. Don’t make her rant about her husband—she probably still loves him and that isn’t how she wants to react.
-Don’t process your grief/frustration/relief through her. Process it your own way and through someone else.
-“Let me know how I can help!” This isn’t helpful. Just do something.
-Don’t offer to set her up with ANYONE. She will let you know when she is ready to date.
-Don’t always ask her to hang out with you and your husband…couples can be hard for awhile.
-Don’t make her reassure you that she will get through this. Your optimism is what she needs.
-From one of our friends, “When people don’t want to say the wrong thing they sometimes say nothing. Your friends desperately need to hear from you when they are going through hard things. Don’t be so concerned about tiptoeing around someone who is hurting or grieving. As long as you don’t say anything outlandishly rude, they will most likely know that your comments come from a good place. Even if you don’t say the exact right thing, reaching out and saying anything will mean so much more than nothing.”