You do not need to have been through a divorce yourself in order to help a friend get through theirs. Keep in mind that not everyone goes through a divorce or family law matter the same way, and these tips below are simply some suggestions that may or may not be the best fit for your friend. You know your friend better than we do so use your best judgement.
Tips for Helping your Friend with Their Divorce
Probably the best thing you can do for your friend is to just listen to them. Do not critic them, judge them or criticize their ex; remain supportive no matter how many times they tell you the same story over and over again. Resist the urge to chime in about your own past breakups. A breakup is not the same as a divorce. If you have been through a divorce, then your personal experience may be helpful at times, but remember they probably just want to vent more than anything. If they do not want to talk, that is fine too. Do not forget; divorce is very personal. Do not disclose information that they chose to confide in you with.
When someone is going through a divorce, they can often become depressed and forget to take care of themselves. Help your friend stay healthy by exercising with them. Ask them to join you for a walk, a hike, a pick-up game, or a class at the gym. Exercise can also release endorphins that help boost your mood.
If your friend does not have children or on the days when their kids are with their ex, your friend may become lonely. Be sure to keep them in mind when social events pop up. If they seem hesitant, do not push too much. Eventually they will say yes. Dinnertime may become especially laborsome as no one likes cooking for one. Ask them to join you for dinner, show up with a meal, or even just send a healthy meal over to them. They may welcome something other than takeout.
Do not push them on someone else. Divorcees need time to heal before jumping into a new relationship. Everyone moves at their own pace. When they are ready to date again, they will. Forcing your friend onto someone when they are not ready will be worse for them in the long run.
Check back for more tips with the upcoming posting of part II of Help a Friend Get Through Divorce.