Breaking up is hard to do. There’s no perfect way to go through a breakup. In fact, it can be quite a messy process and an emotional roller coaster — but sometimes knowing what to say to someone after a breakup is more difficult than anything else. A roller coaster that you didn’t necessarily want to go on. So, needless to say it isn’t the most blissful moment in your life. It might involve many tears, months of waterproof mascara, nights out with the ladies or the fellas and/or binge-watching Sex And The City. My months of heartbreak involved all of those combined. What you need most during this time is support from the people around you. Trust me, a good friend is sometimes the best remedy.
With that being said, not all of us are trained in knowing what to say to a friend after a breakup. I’m sure you’ve been there, crying your eyes out and having a friend tell you the wrong thing at the very wrong moment. I know when I went through a gut wrenching heartbreak, I heard everything you can imagine. Some good, and some, well...not so helpful. We aren’t all professional therapists and know the exact words that will help. You can’t blame anybody. People are trying their best, and sometimes don’t always have the tools to make things better.
Therefore, when in doubt, just know that some of these sayings can be more harmful than helpful.
1. “Just move on."
Well, I’m sure if you could “just move on” from a heartbreak, you would have done that by now. Saying this phrase doesn’t feel all that good inside. When you say this to a friend, it only makes him or her feel as if it’s not okay to grieve. The grieving process is an important part of breaking up — a part that shouldn’t be ignored. So, just move on from saying, “just move on.”
2. “You just have to stay busy."
If I received a dollar for every time someone said this to me while I was in a devastated state of mind, I would be richer than Beyonce by now. I get it; staying busy is a nice way to not think about the reality of your situation. And yes, staying active is important. However, it’s also important to take the time out to mourn this loss. Staying busy can be helpful, but staying busy to just constantly avoid your feelings is dangerous.
3. "Ugh, being single and dating is the worst."
When someone new enters the dating world again, the last thing they want to hear is how horrible dating is. They don’t want to hear about your tinder horror stories. They don’t want to hear about every bad date you’ve been on. What they need is to see a light at the end of the dating tunnel. So, tell them those happy stories of that girl who met the love of her life through online dating. Or, share that story of your friend who, after a horrible breakup, met an even better partner and was finally truly happy. Nobody loves a dating Debbie Downer.
4. "I always hated him/her."
Some people love to hear all the bad things about their ex as soon as a relationship ends. However, use caution when revealing your true feelings about your friend's old partner. It might make them question their own instincts and their own taste. They are also going to wonder why you didn’t speak up this whole time. Therefore, tread lightly when exposing these truths. Make sure your friend is comfortable or happy to hear this.
5. "There's plenty of fish in the sea."
When a person ends a relationship, he or she is going to get flooded with words of wisdom. If you’re going to give advice or offer comforting words, make sure they are your own, and not some outdated cheesy saying. It doesn’t feel genuine. Nor, does it offer any real relief. Furthermore, maybe he or she isn’t looking to swim in the sea yet, let alone, catch another fish.
6. "I just saw your ex and he seemed happy/positive/anything."
After a gut-wrenching breakup, you don’t want to picture your previous lover having the best time of his or her life. Truth be told, most people want to believe that his or her ex is lying on a couch, eating Cheetos while crying. So, even if you know that your friend’s ex is in a better place, it’s not your place to tell this information.