How To Help Your Best Friend Through A Breakup, According To Experts

Ad failed to load

I think to say that breakups are the worst, just might be an understatement. No matter how the relationship came to an end or how long the couple was together, it hurts like hell. While not all breakups feel the same, they definitely take their toll, emotionally, mentally, and, if you don't take care of yourself, physically. Breakups aren't just devastating, but debilitating, interfering with even your day-to-day activities.

The only thing worse than experiencing your own breakup is watching your best friend go through a breakup of their own. Because you know exactly what it's like, exactly how it feels, exactly what they're going through, and you also know there's not a damn thing you can possibly do or say to make the pain go away. Although, of course, that doesn't stop you from offering the cliché advice — it just takes time, it's their loss, you're an effing catch, and so on — that everyone offers, and that your friend probably offered you during your last breakup, too.

Because breakups are so difficult and, as a best friend, it's your job to step up to the plate and do whatever you can to ease their anguish, here are seven ways to help your best friend through a breakup.

Ad failed to load

1Let Your Friend Decide What She Wants To Do

carballo/Fotolia

As the best friend, one of the most important tasks you have at a time like this is to both distract your friend and entertain them. But, you need to do it on their terms. The last thing you want to do is force your friend to do something, just to get them out of the house and moving, only to have it backfire. Instead, ask them what would help take their mind off things and let them decide.

"You should follow your friend’s lead," relationship therapist, Aimee Hartstein, LCSW, tells Bustle. "Does she want to go out and party and talk to new [people]? Or does she want to burrow under the covers and watch Netflix? Whichever it is, let her call the shots."

2Do Your Best To Keep Them Off Social Media

Fotolia

"If someone is struggling through a breakup and fixated on their ex, staying actively engaged in the relationship through social media will make it harder to move forward and the recovery will take longer," Dr. Cortney Warren, clinical psychologist and contributing EXpert for EXaholics.com, tells Bustle. If your friend's social media or phone habits are preventing them from moving on, offer some healthier suggestions.

After a horrible breakup I had several years ago, not only did two of my best friends change my Facebook password, but they took my phone away for a week so I couldn't send any drunken texts to my ex. Not to downplay my love for that particular guy, but not having my iPhone for a week might have been even more difficult than losing him. In the end, although I would end up texting him a few times when I got my phone back (they deleted his number, but I had it memorized), it was one of the best things they could have done — if only to prove to me they loved me that much and gave that much of a damn about my mental health.

3Be Careful What You Say About Their Ex

nanihta/Fotolia

"The other important thing to be aware of during a friend’s breakup is to be careful not to trash her ex too much!" says Hartstein. "There’s always the distinct possibility that the breakup might not take and then you are the friend who hates her boyfriend!"

As much as you may want to be that friend who slams that ex while your BFF suffers from whatever they did, you need to put a cap on it. As Hartstein points out, it's going to be really awkward if they get back together. Like, really awkward.

Ad failed to load

4But Also Be Realistic About Their Ex

filipefrazao/Fotolia

While putting a cap on trashing your best friend's ex is a good idea, if only to prevent any future issues, if there was abuse involved, then that's a whole other story. In this case, it's not just about trashing them, but really driving home to your friend just how essential it is to her welfare that she never return to that abusive partner again.

"Of course if the [partner] was physically abusive, in which case you should be very clear about how harmful [they've] been to her," says Hartstein.

5Support Them However They Need To Grieve

dashamuller/Fotolia

Everyone grieves differently and every loss, no matter how small or large, should be grieved. As psychotherapist Barbara Neitlich, LCSW, tells Bustle, grieving involves crying, getting angry, yelling, and basically being a menace to society. Why? Because a breakup tears a heart from someone's chest and throws it on the floor!

So if you show up at your best friend's house and they're blaring an empowering breakup song like "I Will Survive," by Gloria Gaynor while screaming along to the lyrics and eating a wheel of cheese that they haven't even bothered to slice, don't judge. Ask for a bite of that wheel of cheese and sing right along with them.

6Sit And Listen

Carlos Caetano/Fotolia

"Mostly you should just be there for her," says Hartstein. "Breakups can be very devastating and debilitating."

I realize it can be exhausting to listen to the same thing over and over again, as your best friend rehashes what happened, what didn't happen, what could have been done differently, and all the rest of it. But it's important to remember that you did the same thing during your breakups and your best friend sat there and listened.

Ad failed to load

7Suggest A Therapist

SolisImages/Fotolia

At some point, you might realize you've given everything you can and you have nothing left. It's not that you're giving up and abandoning your best friend, but that you understand that some of it is just out of your jurisdiction. It's at this point, that you should suggest to your best friend that it might be time to get professional help. But don't just leave it at that — help them find a therapist they like and, if they don't want to go alone to their first session, then go with them.

"If you find that she’s having trouble getting out of bed, getting to work, or seems extraordinarily depressed, then you should suggest she see a therapist," says Hartstein. "Sometimes people need a little professional help to get them back on their feet."

Although nothing can heal a broken heart except time — and lots of it — you, as a best friend, have a very important job to do. And that job is being there for your best friend 110 percent. She'd do the same for you.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

The 5 Rom-Coms You Need To Read This Summer, According To Someone Who Writes Them

'Tis the season for rom-coms. The weather is warm, the sun is shining, and everyone is rocking the flirtiest items in their wardrobe. I don't know about you, but summer always takes me back to my teenage years — and that automatically makes me want t…
By Cristina Arreola

11 Tiny Sunglasses That Will Make You Look Even Cooler Than Kylie Jenner

You know what they say — the tinier the sunglasses, the more stylish the outfit. OK, that's not really a saying, but it seems to be the case these days. Basically every celebrity, model, and It person has been spotted sporting tiny sunglasses as part…
By Sara Tan

9 Ways This Royal Wedding Was Way More Modern Than Past Ones

The newly named Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, made history with their storybook courtship and wedding. What's more, there are myriad ways the royal wedding 2018 was more modern than previous royal weddings. From deciding…
By Brandi Neal

10 Little-Known British Traditions Meghan Markle Will Learn When She Marries Prince Harry

As an American woman dating a Brit, I am no stranger to the mishaps that can result from the cultural differences between the U.S. and England. And while I'm sure Meghan Markle has a slew of royal traditions to learn, titles to remember, and fancy ha…
By Kristin Magaldi

I've Paid $18,000 To A $24,000 Student Loan, & I Still Owe $24,000

It all became real the summer before my senior year of college. It was 2010, and my home phone still had a cord, which I wrapped around my fingers as I waited not-so-patiently for the apathetic representative on the other end to tell me the bad news …
By Kaitlyn Cawley

12 Personality Quizzes That Will Help You Determine Your Exact Strengths

Learning more about yourself can be tough. It's so easy to observe others to learn what makes them tick, what areas they really excel in, and the things they could be better at. Doing that to yourself, however, is a whole different story. That's exac…
By Jessica Booth

5 Brand New Short Story Collections You Can Finish In One Sitting This Weekend

Since 2013, May has been known by book-lovers by another name: Short Story Month. If you're ready to kick off this year's celebration the right way, make sure to pick up a short story collection to read over the weekend. Modern life moves more than …
By Sadie Trombetta

I Got Styled By 'Queer Eye's Tan France & Realized I Still Have A Lot Of Fashion "Rules" To Unlearn

When I walked into a New York City Express store on May 2 to get styled by Queer Eye's Tan France, I was ready for anything. And I mean truly anything. I am such a massive fan of the show and Tan that if he had instructed me to wrap myself in tin foi…
By Olivia Muenter

It Isn’t Bad To Have A “Princess Fantasy” — Mine Made Me The Woman I Am Today

What do you want to be when you grow up? If you were anything like me as a kid, at some point, the answer to that question was "a princess." Thanks to good old-fashioned gender stereotypes, most little girls born in the '90s (and even now) grew up in…
By Nicole Pomarico

9 Mother's Day Gifts For Your Mom That Also Give Back

Mother’s Day is around the corner, and unless you’re the type who’s got gift-giving on lock months in advance — and seriously, who is that person? — you might be scrambling a bit for great Mother's day 2018 gift ideas. And while it’s important to cho…
By Carolyn de Lorenzo

Here’s How To Get A FREE 30-Minute Facial At Sephora That Sucks Your Pores Clean

Sephora has long been a mecca for both serious and amateur beauty lovers alike, where they not only have makeup artists that help answer questions about products, but free samples to let you play with new collections. But now they have upped the ante…
By Marlen Komar

Kris Jenner Is FINALLY Launching A Makeup Line With Kylie

Maybe you don't have a favorite sister of the Kar-Jenner clan, and that's perfectly fine. The one thing you can't deny, though, is that when it comes power, no one in that family has more than the world famous momager. Now, Kris Jenner x Kylie Cosmet…
By Shea Simmons

This Kendall Jenner “Diva” Moment Is Really Being Taken Out Of Context

The fashion always takes center stage at the Met Gala, but there's usually a little drama, too. And this time, a member of the Kardashian-Jenner family is involved. People are buzzing about how Kendall Jenner shoved someone at the Met Gala, but after…
By Nicole Pomarico

Feel Like You've Seen Everything On Netflix? Add These Movies To Your Watch List

The weekend may feel too far away, but if you're lacking formal plans, a Netflix marathon session is always a good idea. If you're an avid viewer, however, you probably feel like you've seen everything the streaming platform has to offer already. In …
By Ashley Rey

These 4 Zodiac Signs Are Going To Have The Best Luck In Love This May

Spring fever is here, but not all signs in the zodiac are dealt the same dose of lovin'. Some signs are going to have a better love lives than the rest of us in May, because that's just the way the cookie crumbles. According to astrologer Linda Furia…
By Kaitlyn Wylde

Hillary Clinton Says She's Ready To Fight Like A Republican — EXCLUSIVE

Hillary Clinton Is Not Going Away Quietly. Can Hillary Clinton Please Go Quietly Into The Night? Unlike Losers Before Her, Clinton Is Not Going Gently Into the Night. These headlines, which appeared in various news outlets over the course of the last…
By Catherine Thompson and Jenny Hollander

Here's The Very Best Time To Book Your Summer Vacation If You're Trying To Save Money

Summer is a great time to travel, for obvious reasons. The weather is better. Many offices are more lax about time off. If you have kids, they’re out of school. But there’s one very important element that makes summer not a great time to travel: Cost…
By Emma McGowan
)}