How to Help a Friend Cope With a Breakup (for Girls)

Three Methods:Communicating Effectively With Your FriendDemonstrating Your Support Through ActionsHelping Your Friend Move Forward

Breaking up is hard to do. It’s important to be there for your friend during the aftermath. Listen to what your friend has to say and be sensitive to her feelings. The most important thing you can do for your friend is lend an ear and a shoulder to cry on. Take her out on the town for fun activities to keep her mind off the breakup and provide healthy channels for her stress. Give her time to process her emotions and be patient with her.

Method 1
Communicating Effectively With Your Friend

  1. 1
    Actively listen to your friend. Active listening is an approach you can use to get the most out of your interaction with your friend.[1] When you’re actively engaged and communicating openly with your friend, she will feel much better about the breakup.
    • Look at her directly when she speaks.
    • Listen to what she says and use nonverbal communication -- nodding, frowning, smiling -- to let her know you’re engaged.
    • Use open-ended questions. For instance, instead of a yes-or-no question like, “Are you sad?” ask “How are you feeling?”
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    Be careful of your word choice.[2] Even well-meaning statements of sympathy can be misconstrued by a friend in a sensitive state following a breakup. For instance, instead of minimizing her pain by saying, “You’ll be fine,” or “Some things just aren’t meant to be,” say, “I know you’re hurting. You must really miss your ex.”
    • Ask for permission when digging deeper.[3] If you want to ask about specifics relating to her feelings or the situation which led to the breakup -- which might be helpful for both of you to better understand it -- get permission before asking your question. “Can I ask you about…” is the best way to do this.
  3. 3
    Be open-minded.[4] You might not understand why your friend is sad or angry about the breakup, especially if you have a different attitude toward relationships or haven’t had a very serious relationship before. Try to understand why she feels the way she does.
  4. 4
    Show empathy.[5] Think back on a nasty breakup you had. Use this experience to remember how important it was for you to have the support of your friends when you were coping with a breakup. Do the kind of things for your friend that your friends did for you.
    • Don’t minimize your friend’s anxiety by saying patronizing things like, “Don’t worry about that,” or “Everything will work out.”
    • Instead, listen to your friend and offer a measured, empathetic response like, “You’re a beautiful person and I believe that even though you’re hurting now, I’m confident you’ll find happiness again.”

Method 2
Demonstrating Your Support Through Actions

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    Spend time with your friend.[6] Don’t let your friend suffer through her breakup alone. Invite your other mutual friends to get in on the action. You should all stand in solidarity with your brokenhearted friend.
    • Encourage her to be gentle with herself and focus on her well-being.
    • Give her a hug, rub her back, and show her that you care and that you are there for her. Sometimes all a friend needs is a shoulder to cry on.
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    Be trustworthy.[7] When your friend is confiding her most intimate feelings to you, it’s a sign that she trusts you. Don’t betray that trust by blabbing about her breakup and all the details surrounding it to your friends at school, at work, or on social media.
  3. 3
    Plan fun activities.[8] Go shopping with your friend. Whether you head to the bookstore, makeup store, or clothing store, getting a new toy or piece of apparel will cheer your friend up (at least temporarily).
    • This means taking her out to the movies, bringing her a pizza and watching movies together, going out dancing, or doing whatever hobbies and interests she likes.
    • Make a playlist for your friend on Spotify or -- if you’re old-school -- make them a mixtape.
  4. 4
    Allow her to process her emotions.[9] If your friend is conscious of her feelings, she will be able to deal with them. If she denies her own feelings, on the other hand, she will continue to be frustrated and harbor resentment against either herself or her ex. This resentment and emotional frustration might manifest later as aggression or hostility against another partner, herself, or her friends.
    • Let her cry.[10] It’s important for your friend to externalize her emotions for as long as she likes. Crying is healthy and will make her feel better. The best thing after a breakup is often to cry and feel miserable.
  5. 5
    Be patient.[11] People recover from breakups at different rates. While you might not understand why your friend is having a hard time dealing with the breakup, you should be patient. Everyone copes and heals in their own way and at their own pace.

Method 3
Helping Your Friend Move Forward

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    Help with the details.[12] Take care of the necessities for your friend. When your friend is grieving the end of her relationship, she might not have the energy for even basic things. Offer to do your friend’s laundry or cook dinner for her.
  2. 2
    Develop a plan. Help your friend see the upside of the breakup.[13] After the initial trauma of the breakup has worn off, encourage your friend to think about the benefits of being single. For instance, point out that she no longer has to coordinate with her partner when she wants to travel or move somewhere new.
    • Another benefit is that when she’s ready, she gets to meet new people and go on dates again.
    • You could point out that she’ll have more time to spend with her family and friends, including you.
    • You could make a joke here. Say something witty like, “On the upside, you’ll have more time to spend with me!”
    • Show your friend how to make a gratitude list. A gratitude list is a small list written each day in the morning or at night that expresses five good things that happened each day. A gratitude list might begin, “Today was a good day. I am thankful for…” followed by five positive things that made your friend smile or feel good.
  3. 3
    Know your own limits.[14] It’s natural to want to be there for your friend when she’s going through a hard time. Ultimately, however, only your friend can choose to deal with her pain and emotions and move beyond the breakup to an emotionally healthier place. Be on the lookout for a friend who is not dealing with a breakup in a healthy way, and prepare yourself for emotional outbursts.
    • Your friend might lash out at you despite your helpful attitude and good intentions. If your friend is acting out of character -- being rude, impatient, or distant -- recognize that your friend is just in a sensitive place and needs time to work through the breakup. Don’t take it personally, but do stand up for yourself if your friend crosses the line and starts being really awful toward you.
    • Say, “I know you’re going through a hard time right now and I really want to be here for you, but you cannot use your own pain and anger as an excuse to treat me badly.” Leave if necessary.
    • Don’t feel that you need to take on the entire burden of your friend’s post-breakup recovery. It’s one thing to let your friend stay over a few nights. It’s another thing entirely to allow your friend to move in with you. Don’t let your friend take advantage of your generosity.
  4. 4
    Know when to seek outside help.[15] If your friend spirals into serious depression or is engaging in negative behavior as a result of the breakup, she should seek counseling. Teach your friend to recognize avoidance behaviors.[16] Recommend a therapist if you think it would help.
    • In the face of a serious breakup, people often turn to drugs and alcohol. However, they might also cope in other, equally destructive ways, including binging on food, working nonstop, or engaging in excessive shopping. Your friend should see a therapist if she begins doing anything extreme.
    • Therapy can be good for two reasons. First, the end of a relationship (especially a long-term relationship), can be extremely painful and difficult to deal with. Secondly, relationships often end because one or both individuals were unable to identify and confront issues from their pasts that led to unhealthy relationship habits, which in turn caused the breakup.
    • Talking with a trained therapist can help your friend cope with her breakup and better understand her own actions and beliefs to ensure the past doesn’t repeat itself in her next relationship.


  • Take her out somewhere where she can feel good, such as a restaurant, diner, mall, spa, etc.
  • When she isn't crying, make her laugh. Laughter is the best form of medicine.


  • Don't yell at her or blame her for the breakup.
  • Be careful of what you say about your friend’s ex. There's a chance they may get back together someday.

Article Info

Categories: Handling Rejection | Supporting Friends