I read an article very recently by Chiara Atik called "The Five Worst Things to Say to Someone Who Just Went Through a Break-Up" (Article here). Honestly, it was so on-point that I wish that I had written it myself. So, I'm going to do my good deed by imparting this wisdom upon you. This is for you friends out there struggling with the 'What Do I Say's' and for those of you who, like myself, have been through a break-up and find yourself listening to the five things you shouldn't (and don't want to) hear from your friends. To summarize, the five no-no points are these:
I'd like to add a few of my own. Here's what not to say (and here's what the broken hearted is thinking):
To summarize, Ms. Atik recommends you stick to these helpful words instead:
I’m here whenever you want to talk.
Break ups are the worst thing in the world. The worst thing. I am so sorry you are going through this.
I know you want to be alone right now, so I’m sending you a care package of cool/distracting stuff and I’m on standby for whenever you want to hang out.
Here were some helpful words that I got from friends during the worst of it all:
I'm rounding up some friends and we're going to cook you dinner and have a movie night. Don't worry about anything, I'm taking care of it all." And a group of my friends along with my sister all showed up with love, encouragement, "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" and home-cooked food.
"You deserve to be taken out on a date." And three of my closest did just that: they rallied around me, showered me with attention and light-hearted humor and took me to a blues club where we listened to BB King covers and ate fried chicken.
"You are not a burden. I don't care how long you need to talk about your break-up. I love you and I'm here to listen, even if it's all you can talk about for the next year." The truth is that it takes a long time to get over your heartache; AND it takes a lot of talking to process through all of your feelings; AND after a few weeks, you may feel like you are a burden to your friends. Your best friends will remind you that no matter how long you need or how much you can't stop talking about your heartbreak, you are not a burden, that you can take as long as you need to heal properly, and they'll love you and listen anyway.
Thanks to all of my friends for their solidarity, support and listening ears, even those of you who have occasionally broken the no-no rules. Extra special thanks to my friends who NEVER broke the no-no rules. You know who you are and I am eternally grateful.