5 Things Not to Say to a Friend Going Through a Break-up


by Nicole Huffman Hollins

It’s the middle of the night, and suddenly my phone rings. It’s my girl-friend calling to cry and declare that, “I’m done [with him.] It’s over- for real- this time.” Have you ever found yourself in my position? On the other hand, perhaps, you were the hysterical friend who needed a little support. Many of us have been there. If you have not, your time will come. When it does, the below are five things that your distraught friend does not want to hear at this time.


5 Things Not to Say to Your Friend Experiencing Relationship Drama


1. “You should respect yourself more than to be with someone who mistreats you.”

This statement is very likely to trigger a defensive response from your friend. Even when she is aware of her partner’s inappropriate behavior, she still may be protective of her companion. It is important to choose your words wisely to prevent her from shutting down on you. Instead, try saying, “You deserve to be respected.” By making this change, your friend is not left feeling as if the mistreatment is her fault because she does not have enough self-respect to leave.


2. “Why don’t you leave?”

This statement also may be considered judgment and cause your friend to start making excuses for her choices.  Try saying, “You are welcome to come over or call me anytime.” This statement does not cast blame on either party. There is a greater chance that your friend will accept this sentiment as coming from concern rather than judgment. This will help her to open up when she feels ready.


3. “If it were me….”

Stop. It is not you, and the sentiment is very likely to be considered as judgmental.  Along those lines, saying, “If I were you…” and “I would never…,” also should be avoided.


4. “I know how you feel.”

No. You do not know how she feels. Even if you have experienced a break-up you will never know exactly how she feels.  While you may say these words out of an attempt to comfort her and show her that you understand, the person on the other side of this comment may be angered by what is taken as an invalidation of her unique experience.  Instead, try saying, “How are you coping with everything?” This is an open-ended question that will allow your friend to express herself more freely.


5. “It will be okay.”

In the eyes of someone who is going through relationship turmoil, it may never be okay, because it is difficult to see beyond the present reality. You may mean well, but when your girlfriend hears something along these lines, it may fill her with resentment and anger. Instead, try this, “We will get through this together.”

Loyalty and support from your girl-friends is appreciated during life’s trials. Your friend will appreciate your love and sincere expression of concern. It is important, however, that you remain thoughtful of how  you express your support. Your good intentions could backfire and cause a rift in your friendship.




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