How to Help a Friend with a Broken Heart

Опубликовал Admin
8-03-2021, 04:20
If your friend is dealing with a breakup, the death of a loved one, or any other hard time, you probably want to do whatever you can to help. While there's nothing you can do or say to make the pain go away, you can be there for your friend and offer plenty of support. Regardless of your friend's situation, being a good friend can go a long way in helping heal a broken heart.

Being There for Your Friend

  1. Encourage grieving. Your friend needs to deal with their emotions in order to get through this tough time, so encourage them to tackle them head-on. Remind them that they will never feel better if they are in denial about what has happened or ignore how they are feeling about it.
    • Let them know it's okay to cry. Tears can help them heal!
    • If you feel like your friend is bottling their emotions up inside, explain to them that doing so can make it harder to get past the hurt.
    • The stages of grief typically include sadness, shock, remorse, withdrawal, and acceptance. Don't be too alarmed if your friend experiences all of these, or if they go away and then come back.
    • Everyone grieves differently, so try not to be judgmental of your friend's process. If, however, they seem to be paralyzed by their grief and do not seem to be getting any better, consider suggesting that they see a grief counselor.
    • If your friend has lost someone close to them, it may help them grieve if you help them plan a memorial of some kind.
  2. Listen. Sharing their feelings will help your friend heal their broken heart, so make sure they know you are there to listen to them whenever they need you. Be a good listener and let your friend talk for as long as they want.
    • Be sure to tell your friend that you are willing to listen. They may really want to talk, but be worried about burdening you.
    • Reach out to your friend as soon as you hear about what happened and let them know you're thinking about them. You can let them know then that you are willing to listen, but don't take offense if they don't feel like talking yet.
    • Avoid giving advice unless your friend asks for it. Your friend may just feel like venting.
    • If your friend doesn't want to talk, encourage them to write their thoughts down in a journal.
    • It's okay to ask questions about what happened, especially if you are close friends. Doing so will help you understand what they are going through and how you can help.
  3. Be empathetic. Let your friend know that you care about their feelings and want to help them through this tough time. Instead of passing judgment, simply acknowledge their pain and tell them you are sorry that they have to experience it.
    • Always express simple condolences by saying something like, "I'm sorry for your loss."
    • If your friend is going through a breakup, don't feel like you need to say anything negative about their ex to make them feel better. Instead of saying something like, "They were a jerk and you're better off without them," just acknowledge the sense of loss your friend is feeling by saying, "It must be really hard to lose someone you cared about so much."
    • It also typically does not help to try to show your friend the silver lining of their situation. Instead of saying, "Everything happens for a reason," just say, "I'm sorry about what you're going through. How can I help?"
    • Don't tell your friend that whatever happened, happened for a reason. You run the risk of trivializing their pain if you say something like this.
  4. Check up on your friend. Heartbreak can stick around for a long time, so don't expect your friend to be fine after a day or 2. Check in on them regularly and ask them how they are feeling. Always remind them that you are there to help and support them however they need.
    • Don't wait for them to reach out to you. They may really need you, but they may not be feeling up to making contact.
    • Call your friend, text them, or leave them a note to let them know you're thinking about them. Depending on how close the 2 of you are, you may want to do this every day or every few days until they seem to be feeling a little better.
    • Call at strategic times to show your friend that you are thinking about them. For example, if a loved one has just passed away, you shouldn't call during the funeral, but it would be nice to call that evening or the next day to see how your friend is doing.
    • When you check in on your friend, be sure to remind them that you're there for them if they feel like talking.
  5. Offer to help out with small things. If your friend is so down in the dumps that they have been neglecting everyday tasks, offer to help them out. For example, bring them some groceries or visit them to help out with math homework.
    • If your friend declines your help, let them know it's an open invitation.
    • If you are close friends, consider surprising them with something unexpected, like having a pizza delivered to their house.
    • Consider inviting them over for a meal. This will help them get the nourishment they need and it will get them out of the house, which will probably be good for them.
  6. Don't push it. While it's great that you want to help your friend, there's only so much you can do. You need to allow your friend to grieve in their own way and give them the time they need to get past their pain. Don't expect them to bounce back right away or try to force them to get over it.
    • Remember that during this time your friend may seem a little selfish and may not be the best friend to you. Try to be understanding and look past this. They will be back to their old selves eventually.
    • Take small steps when encouraging your friend to be active. If they aren't comfortable going to a party, ask them if they want to come over and watch a movie with you.
  7. Maintain healthy boundaries and avoid saying “yes” to every request. While it’s great to help your friend, it’s also important to say “no” when you are not up to helping them. Make sure that you are not giving away too much of your time and emotional energy. Some ways you can maintain healthy boundaries include:
    • Identifying what your limits are, such as what you are willing to do to help and what you are not willing to do. For example, you might be willing to listen to your friend vent about their ex, but not act as a go-between to send messages to their ex or find out what their ex is up to.
    • Asserting your boundaries to your friend, such as by telling them what you will and will not do. For example, you might say, “I’m happy to listen to you any time I can, but I can’t accept calls when I am at work. Let’s talk after I get off work.”
    • Being direct with your friend if a boundary is crossed, such as by saying, “I am willing to help in any way I can, but as I said before, I can’t help you with that.”
    • Staying tuned into your feelings and letting your friend know if you need a break, such as by saying, “I want to help you, but I’m feeling really overwhelmed right now. Can we talk tomorrow instead?”
  8. Practice self-care to replenish your emotional energy. You cannot pour from an empty cup, so it’s important to take good care of yourself as you attempt to help your friend heal. Do things that you enjoy and that are nurturing to you to replenish your emotional stores. Set aside at least 30 minutes daily to do something you enjoy and find relaxing, such as:
    • Going for a walk
    • Taking a long bath
    • Engaging in a favorite hobby, such as knitting, painting, or playing video games

Helping Your Friend Move On

  1. Tell your friend how strong they are. Your friend might not be feeling very good about themselves right now, so it will help to remind them how incredibly strong and wonderful they are. Tell your friend everything you admire about them and let them know that these qualities are just what they need to get through this tough time.
    • Consider making a list of your friend's best qualities. This may be just what they need to cheer them up.
    • Offer specific examples of why you think your friend is strong. Remind them of other difficult things they have dealt with in their life and tell them you are proud of how they handled them.
  2. Help them be independent. If your friend was used to doing everything with someone who is no longer in their life, such as an ex, they may feel like they need that person in their life in order to function. Help your friend realize that they are perfectly capable of living a satisfying life without this person by encouraging them to do things with friends and by themselves.
    • This may involve helping your friend find new hobbies that won't remind them of their ex or even helping them make some new friends. If most of the people that they used to spend time with are friends with their ex, try introducing them to some new people who don't even know the ex.
    • If your friend has hobbies or activities that they used to enjoy, make sure they stick with them. This will really help them get their mind off of the breakup.
  3. Be active together. Physical activities can do wonders for the spirit, so try to get your friend moving. Any kind of exercise, whether it's an organized sport or just fooling around, will do them good.
    • Consider inviting them to an exercise class with you.
    • If you can't convince them to do anything too strenuous, see if they will go for a walk with you.
  4. Encourage them to seek professional help. If your friend is having an especially hard time coping with their broken heart, encourage them to talk to a therapist. A professional may be able to offer your friend the kind of support and encouragement that their loved ones simply cannot.
    • This is especially important if your friend feels suicidal or has been engaging in self-destructive behavior like doing drugs or hurting themselves. Your friend needs help, so make sure they get it!
    • A support group may also be an option, depending on what kind of heartbreak your friend is dealing with. This will give them the opportunity to talk to other people who know exactly what they are going through.

Preventing Destructive Behavior

  1. Suggest a technology timeout. If your friend is going through a breakup, they may be itching to badmouth their ex or rant about it on social media, but this really won't do them any good. Try to convince them to take some time away from social media and to keep the details of their relationship private. This will also help them avoid seeing anything that their ex and/or friends may have posted about the breakup.
    • A technology timeout may be appropriate for other kinds of heartbreak as well, especially if they are being overwhelmed by people expressing their sympathy.
  2. Discourage obsessive behavior. Some activities will just make your friend's pain worse, so try to identify destructive habits that get your friend upset and discourage them from doing those things. Let them know how you feel about this and encourage them to stop the behavior.
    • Make sure your friend is not harassing their ex after a breakup. If they keep calling their ex or asking everyone they know about what their ex is doing, let them know that you are concerned.
    • If your friend just lost their job, discourage them from reading (or posting) negative reviews about their former company online.
  3. Watch out for unhealthy habits. It can be easy to neglect your health when you're going through a tough time, so make sure your friend is not doing this. If you notice that they are not getting enough sleep, not eating properly, or have started drinking or taking drugs, express your concern and encourage them to make healthier choices.
    • Sit your friend down for a one-on-one intervention if you notice any of this behavior. They may not even realize what they are doing to themselves.
    • If you are really concerned about your friend, talk to other people who can help you help them. This is especially important if your friend is a minor. Their parents need to know about their destructive behavior.
  4. View rebound relationships with caution. There are mixed views on whether or not it is a good idea to get into a new relationship right after a breakup. If your friend is jumping into a new relationship right after breaking up with someone else, it may be a good idea to talk to them about their reasons for wanting to find a new partner so quickly.
    • If they are trying to fill the void left by their ex by getting into a relationship with someone who they wouldn't ordinarily be interested in, the rebound relationship will probably cause them (and the person they are dating) more harm than good.
    • If, on the other hand, they feel ready to get back out there and seem to have a good understanding of what they are looking for in a partner, a new relationship may be just what they need.


  • If your friend wants to talk, let them talk. Make sure that you are truly listening. Do not interrupt.
  • You might find yourself in a tough situation if your friend is going through a breakup and you are friends with the ex as well. It's important to talk with your friends about their expectations so they won't end up getting angry with you for talking to their ex in the future.


  • If you’re afraid that your friend might be suicidal or in danger of harming themself or someone else, take it seriously. Call emergency services or contact a crisis hotline. For example, if you live in the U.S., you can text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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