We’ve previously covered things not to do or say when attempting to console a friend through divorce. Here are some ideas and suggestions for how to help a friend through the divorce process.
As a friend it ultimately falls to you to know your friend best and what they may, or may not, appreciate during their divorce. It also may take some trial and error. But, so long as your efforts come from a positive place and are well-intended having the care of someone close to them is likely to help enough all on its own.
1) Invite them to your family gatherings
Even if it’s just having them over for dinner, or a cook out over a grill during a sports game, feeling included can greatly help your friend. It gives them the ability to feel wanted as company and put their concerns aside. Beyond this, when someone is going through a divorce they have gone from two, to one, on everything including cooking. Cooking just for one person when you are used to preparing for two can be a sad affair. Even if it’s only for one meal you can relieve them from some of those negative emotions for a period of time.
2) Cry with them
If it is someone you truly care for as a dear friend their pain should move you. When you hurt along side them don’t be afraid to let that emotion out sometimes. While there are benefits to being the stoic shoulder to cry on by shedding tears of your own, or exposing your own emotions, can show them how much you care for them and make them feel validated in what their emotions.
3) Let them help you
Just because someone is going through a divorce does not make them broken. Many times that is when people are at their strongest. But having avenues to put that strength to use can be tough to find when everyone wants to insist they ‘take it easy’ or tries to do everything for them. If you need babysitting and they have an interest invite their help. Plus, it gives them something to do while keeping their hands busy that puts their mind farther away from their problems.
4) Allow them NOT to talk about the divorce
They have likely explained the circumstances of their divorce to each of their family members, their other friends, their co-workers and anyone else in their social circles dozens of times. Talking about it again may be the last thing they want or need to do. Allow them to have a breather from discussing the gritty details again and again, it can help them regain a sense of normality.
5) Stand by them through the difficult divorce-related events
As a friend, you likely won’t have access to the legal events that they will be going through, but there are a lot of emotional events that your presence can be instrumental to their well-being. Offer to have them over when their ex is moving out, and offer to stand by them as a steady hand when they see their home void of their ex’s presence for the first time. When your friend makes a comment about an important court date offer to make plans that evening to allow them to vent, or escape. It will not only show that you care, but that you are paying attention.
Someone who is going through divorce is going through a lot of change. Their home life is shifting, their family dynamic may be drastically different, they may have moved recently, among many other adjustments. As a friend you can be a consistent that was there before, during, and after the divorce that can help your friend get through.