Simple ways to walk with your friend through a breakup

About a week after I broke up with my boyfriend, I opened an Amazon package from one of my dearest friends. The package contained the book “Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul” by John and Stasi Eldredge, a bag of my favorite Reese’s candy, and a note that stated how proud she was of me and that she was there for me. I felt seen and loved.

This friend of mine was two states and a time zone away, and there had been many phone calls in the week prior about how I was going to end the relationship and about how I felt afterward. Yet, she still went out of her way and sent me a care package. In that small gesture, I felt less alone and supported by my friend amid that tough decision.

A breakup is never easy, but often it is needed. I’ve walked through a few myself, with loving friends supporting me through each one. And I have also walked with other friends as they journeyed through this difficult decision.

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Wildly enough, two friends of mine broke up with their boyfriends within the same weekend. For one friend, we had been talking for weeks as she wrestled with the reality that the relationship needed to end; she needed reassurance that it was for the best, that she was right in her thinking and that she was strong enough to do this. With the other friend, she called with her mind already made up, and I just had to tell her she was not alone; she ended the relationship within a day of coming to the decision.

Overall, how we walk with our friends through a breakup depends on each woman, on each relationship, and on each unique situation. However, through these recent experiences, I have seen some ways that we can be there for our friends as they walk this difficult path.

1) Always be a listening ear

Throughout the entire relationship, not just at the end, you should be invested in the relationship by offering a listening ear to your friend. Overall, it is her relationship, but your outside perspective can help her see things — good or bad — that she may not be able to recognize. Good friends listen and rejoice with one another through a healthy relationship. But if we notice ways in which our friend is being mistreated or not living through their relationship in the way God calls us to, we should pray about how we should prudently approach this topic with them.

Being a listening ear, however, is especially important if our friend is the one to realize the relationship must end. Be ready and able to talk to them. Call and check on how they are doing. Ask them if they have an action plan. This way they feel less alone in approaching the conversation.

2) Entrust them to Mary

Who better to pray for them than Mother Mary? I know that in the midst of conversing with both my friends, I began praying a decade every morning for each of them. I surrendered their situation to Mary, and she provided the way for them to act as well as the way in which I could best support them.

Surrendering your friend to Our Lady’s intercession may be one of the best things you can do for your friend and yourself. Ask Mary to pray for you to have the heart and the words to support your friend at this time, and have the faith that she will look down with compassion.

3) If you can, be there

If you live close enough or make the time to be with them, your physical presence proves to your friend that they are not alone and they are still loved. A breakup can often feel isolating since they are losing the person they were closest to in that season. Physical presence reminds them that they still have you and that you are willing to be there for them.

Unfortunately, not all of our friends live close enough for us to drive to them. While being in person to support someone through their grief is often the best option, a phone call or FaceTime is also a wonderful way to offer support.

4) If you can’t be there, send something

When my friend who lived out of state sent me the care package after my breakup, it showed me how much she cared for me and how much she wanted to be with me at this time but couldn’t.

In much the same vein, I sent one of my friends a card in the midst of her breakup to support her with words in something more tangible way than a text. Virtual communication is great, but sending something as small as a letter is still a more tangible way for us to show that we are making an effort in our love for them.

5) Keep checking on them and praying for them

A breakup is a journey. Some may heal in a few months, some in a year. Yes, they have to do it on their own, but we can always be there asking them how they are doing emotionally. Where are they with God and their prayer life? Do they need a girls’ night? Do they need more phone calls?

Also, always remind them that you are praying for them, and remember to pray for them before, during and after the breakup.

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