Divorce is never an easy topic of discussion, so if your friend just revealed she’s getting one, you may not know how to go about supporting and consoling her.
Amy Minkoff, a Certified Professional Coach and Joy After Divorce Expert, says that divorce is a life-changing experience that requires time to finalize as well as time to heal.
"At the same time, it’s important to enjoy life in the moment, even in the face of all the uncertainty and in some cases, pain," she says.
Here are some helpful ways to get your friend through the process...
How You Should and Shouldn’t Console a Divorcing Friend
Accept where the divorcing friend is in her coping process. If you make a suggestion and she resists, you may try presenting it another way. "Sometimes the frustration of being given suggestions by someone who is not in your particular situation can become overwhelming," says Minkoff. "Trust your instincts when it’s time to back off gently and tell her you trust her to do what feels is right for her."
Minkoff says not to give legal advice or other advice you aren’t trained to give. Instead, help your friend find an expert such as a lawyer, financial advisor or therapist.
"The combined benefit of professional help and the crucial support of a true friend can be greater than when a divorcing person relies only on her friends for the support and advice that she needs." Give your friend room to vent and don’t encourage her to date until she is ready.
8 Tips for Supporting Your Friend
- Listen well and acknowledge her feelings.
- Let her know that you are not judging her and that you “have her back.”
- Meet her where she is. “In other words, if she’s not ready to go out to parties, don’t push it. Getting together to watch a movie at home may be just what she needs,” says Minkoff.
- Remind her to make it a priority to take care of herself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
- If she has children, offer to pick up some groceries, run some errands, or babysit, so she can get a break.
- Bring her gifts such as books, zen gifts that inspire relaxation, a gift certificate for a massage or flowers and plants.
- Encourage her to do activities she enjoys like going to concerts, the beach, park, or spa.
- Include her in activities involving other couples. “Some people inadvertently stop including their newly single friends in social gatherings, especially other couples. Let her know she’s just as worthwhile a friend single as she was when she was married,” Minkoff adds.
Minkoff says her guidelines aren’t specific advice for every divorce situation, nor are they a substitute for therapy.
"Every situation is different, so if in doubt, seek professional help directly from a therapist or life coach."
She combines her own divorce success story with professional training to help divorcing moms get out of the divorce maze onto a clear, confident path to a life they dream of.
To learn more about how to console your divorcing friend, head to her practice, Joy After Divorce Expert at joyafterdivorceexpert.com.