Breakups are hard, even when the relationship has been healthy and run its course. The difficulty in ending a toxic relationship is compounded by the complexity of added emotions like guilt and shame, concern over personal safety, and worries about what the future holds.
As breakups unfold, individuals need to go through a period of healing, have the opportunity to reflect on emotions, and identify the dynamics of the relationship. Without this time, and support from friends and family the likelihood of repeating the same pattern is significant.
While friends in the midst of a breakup can always use backing and companionship, there are also many things friends should be wary of saying, even when said with the best of intentions.
Things not to say to a friend going through a breakup
- “You are better off without them”
- “Get over him/her and move on”
- “Stop wasting your time”
- “He/she was a loser anyway”
- “Stop wallowing”
- “How can you still love them?”
- “Don’t waste your time feeling angry/hurt”
These statements can both further hurt a friend’s feelings and be harmful in his/her healing process. Even if a relationship was unhealthy, the person experiencing the break-up will have mixed feelings about ending the relationship.Try supporting your friend by validating their feelings and offering to let them process the complexity of their emotions.
While breakups may never get easier, and regardless whether the relationship was healthy or not, we can help each other by offering compassion, listening, supporting, and holding safe space. If you’d like to help promote impactful conversations around healthy relationships, consider one of the workshops for healthy relationships.