Oh, you! Yes, YOU! You've been there before; friends who have been dating for a while, maybe more than a year when suddenly they are fighting and break up. You're friends to each of them and they may want your advice, or you want to “be there” for them… Perhaps it's a dating couple or a married couple going through issues and there you are, ready to help… Should you? I've pondered this very thing a lot over the years.Naturally we want to help our friends when they are having problems of any kind. What friend wouldn't? Where it concerns relationships, however, it's a different beast. That is, there's a lot of emotional investment, typically, by those going through the relationship problem or breakup. Because of this one must tread carefully.
For me, it's my default setting to give advice… While some people appreciate this, I think, most would rather just have me shut up and listen. This is something I highly recommend, yet I do it very little. That's a problem. More times than not people having relationship problems need to vent; to voice their frustrations, the things that confuse them. Ultimately, they just need to be heard… by someone; anyone.
So how can we help our friends through tough relationship times and breakups? I'm glad you asked, because I've got some ways that help.
- For the guys, I find that boobies help. Take them to a strip club. I'm serious. It's hard to concentrate on your ex with someone elses rack in your face. I'm just saying.
- Instead of offering advice, help your friend come to their own conclusions in their relationship. This process can be a healing one, sometimes. If your friend is one of those people that likes to beat up on themselves then this can backfire.
- Introduce your lovelorn friend to your sluttiest friend/acquaintance. Yes, it's true that getting under someone else can help you get over that once special someone. Lots of alcohol may need to be involved.
- Get your friend out and about. People going through relationship problems can become stagnant. They stay at home, can't sleep or eat or have a desire to talk to people. They turn into Archie Bunker and that guy was an asshole. Take your friend out and help take their mind off things for a while, even if it's only brief.
- If you're like me, you ridicule your friends nearly to tears. Do NOT do this. Instead be encouraging and highlight those things that make them a “catch.” There's an innate desire to blame oneself or to over analyze what's happened. Make sure that they know how special and awesome they are. Personally, I'm incapable of this, people. I cry tears of sand for crying out loud.
There's really no easy way to be there for your friends. Listen, support, take interest and get them out of their home. Those are the basics.
The worst thing you can do is give advice to each person going through the breakup or issue. That puts you in the middle of a situation where you don't belong. Things can spiral out of control real quick. One friend may begin to distrust you; or they lean on you for information and then you run the risk of betraying your friends' trust… It's a train wreck in the making. Stay out of it. Avoid giving advice if it's not being asked of you.
Until next time, don't be a home wrecker.