How to Help a Friend with a Broken Heart

Three Parts:Being There for Your FriendHelping Her Move OnPreventing Destructive Behavior

If your friend is dealing with a breakup, the death of a loved one, or any other hard time, you probably want to do whatever you can to help. While there's nothing you can do or say to make the pain go away, you can be there for your friend and offer plenty of support. Regardless of your friend's situation, being a good friend can go a long way in helping heal a broken heart.

Part 1
Being There for Your Friend

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    Encourage grieving. Your friend needs to deal with her emotions in order to get through this tough time, so encourage her to tackle them head-on. Remind her that she will never feel better if she is in denial about what has happened or ignores how she is feeling about it.[1]
    • Let her know it's okay to cry. Tears can help her heal!
    • If you feel like your friend is bottling her emotions up inside, explain to her that doing so can make it harder to get past the hurt.
    • The stages of grief typically include sadness, shock, remorse, and withdrawal. Don't be too alarmed if your friend experiences all of these.[2]
    • Everyone grieves differently, so try not to be judgmental of your friend's process. If, however, she seems to be paralyzed by her grief and does not seem to be getting any better, consider suggesting that she see a grief counselor.[3]
    • If your friend has lost someone close to her, it may help her grieve if you help her plan a memorial of some kind.[4]
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    Listen. Sharing her feelings will help your friend heal her broken heart, so make sure she knows you are there to listen to her whenever she needs you. Be a good listener and let your friend talk for as long as she wants.[5]
    • Be sure to tell your friend that you are willing to listen. She may really want to talk, but be worried about burdening you.
    • Reach out to your friend as soon as you hear about what happened and let her know you're thinking about her. You can let her know then that you are willing to listen, but don't take offense if she doesn't feel like talking yet.
    • Avoid giving advice unless your friend asks for it. Your friend may just feel like venting.[6]
    • If your friend doesn't want to talk, encourage her to write her thoughts down in a journal.
    • It's okay to ask questions about what happened, especially if you are close friends. Doing so will help you understand what she is going through and how you can help.[7]
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    Be empathetic. Let your friend know that you care about her feelings and want to help her through this tough time. Instead of passing judgment, simply acknowledge her pain and tell her you are sorry that she has to experience it.
    • Always express simple condolences by saying something like, "I'm sorry for your loss."[8]
    • If your friend is going through a breakup, don't feel like you need to say anything negative about your her ex to make her feel better. Instead of saying something like, "Bill was a jerk and you're better off without him," just acknowledge the sense of loss your friend is feeling by saying, "It must be really hard to lose someone you cared about so much."[9]
    • It also typically does not help to try to show your friend the silver lining of her situation. Instead of saying, "Everything happens for a reason," just say, "I'm sorry about what you're going through. How can I help?"[10]
    • Don't tell your friend that whatever happened happened for a reason. You run the risk of trivializing her pain if you say something like this.[11]
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    Check up on your friend. Heartbreak can stick around for a long time, so don't expect your friend to be fine after a day or two. Check in on her regularly and ask her how she is feeling. Always remind her that you are there to help and support her however she needs.[12]
    • Don't wait for her to reach out to you. She may really need you, but she may not be feeling up to making contact.[13]
    • Call your friend, text her, or leave her a note to let her know you're thinking about her. Depending on how close the two of you are, you may want to do this every day or every few days until she seems to be feeling a little better.
    • Call at strategic times to show your friend that you are thinking about her. For example, if a loved one has just passed away, you shouldn't call during the funeral, but it would be nice to call that evening or the next day to see how your friend is doing.
    • When you check in on your friend, be sure to remind her that you're there for her if she feels like talking.
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    Offer to help out with small things. If your friend is so down in the dumps that she has been neglecting everyday tasks, offer to help her out. For example, bring her some groceries or visit her to help her out with her math homework.[14]
    • If your friend declines your help, let her know it's an open invitation.
    • If you are close friends, consider surprising her with a something unexpected, like having a pizza delivered to her house.
    • Consider inviting her over for a meal. This will help her get the nourishment she needs and it will get her out of the house, which will probably be good for her.[15]
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    Don't push it. While it's great that you want to help your friend, there's only so much you can do. You need to allow your friend to grieve in her own way and give her the time she needs to get past her pain. Don't expect her to bounce back right away or try to force her to get over it.[16]
    • Remember that during this time your friend may seem a little selfish and may not be the best friend to you. Try to be understanding and look past this. She will be back to her old self eventually.
    • Take small steps when encouraging your friend to be active. If she isn't comfortable going to a party, ask her if she wants to come over and watch a movie with you.

Part 2
Helping Her Move On

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    Tell her how strong she is. Your friend might not be feeling very good about herself right now, so it will help to remind her how incredibly strong and wonderful she is. Tell your friend everything you admire about her and let her know that these qualities are just what she needs to get through this tough time.[17]
    • Consider making a list of your friend's best qualities. This may be just what she needs to cheer her up.
    • Offer specific examples of why you think your friend is strong. Remind her of other difficult things she has dealt with in her life and tell her you are proud of how she handled them.
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    Help her be independent. If your friend was used to doing everything with someone who is no longer in her life, such as an ex, she may feel like she needs that person in her life in order to function. Help her realize that she is perfectly capable of living a satisfying life without this person by encouraging her to do things with friends and by herself.[18]
    • This may involve helping your friend find new hobbies that won't remind her of her ex or even helping her make some new friends. If most of the people that she used to spend time with are friends with her ex, try introducing her to some new people who don't even know him.
    • If your friend has hobbies or activities that she used to enjoy, make sure she sticks with them. This will really help her get her mind off of the breakup.[19]
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    Be active together. Physical activities does wonders for the spirit, so try to get your friend moving. Any kind of exercise, whether it's an organized sport or just fooling around, will do her good.[20]
    • Consider inviting her to an exercise class with you.
    • If you can't convince her to do anything too strenuous, see if she will go for a walk with you.
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    Encourage her to seek professional help. If your friend is having an especially hard time coping with her broken heart, encourage her to talk to a therapist. A professional may be able to offer your friend the kind of support and encouragement than her loved ones simply cannot.[21]
    • This is especially important if your friend feel suicidal or has been engaging in self-destructive behavior like doing drugs or hurting herself. Your friend needs help, so make sure she gets it!
    • A support group may also be an option, depending on what kind of heartbreak your friend is dealing with. This will give her the opportunity to talk to other people who know exactly what she is going through.

Part 3
Preventing Destructive Behavior

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    Suggest a technology timeout. If your friend is going through a breakup, she may be itching to badmouth her ex or rant about it on social media, but this really won't do her any good. Try to convince her to take some time away from social media and to keep the details of her relationship private. This will also help her avoid seeing anything that her ex and/or friends may have posted about the breakup.[22]
    • A technology timeout may be appropriate for other kinds of heartbreak as well, especially if she is being overwhelmed by people expressing their sympathy.
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    Discourage obsessive behavior. Some activities will just make your friend's pain worse, so try to identify destructive habits that get your friend upset and discourage her from doing them. Let her know how you feel about this and encourage her to stop doing it.[23]
    • Make sure your friend is not harassing her ex after a breakup. If she keeps calling him or asking everyone she knows about what he is doing, let her know that you are concerned.
    • If your friend just lost her job, discourage her from reading (or posting) negative reviews about her former company online.
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    Watch out for unhealthy habits. It can be easy to neglect your health when you're going through a tough time, so make sure your friend is not doing this. If you notice that she is not getting enough sleep, not eating properly, or has started drinking or taking drugs, express your concern and encourage her to make healthier choices.[24]
    • Sit your friend down for a one-on-one intervention if you notice any of this behavior. She may not even realize what she is doing to herself.
    • If you are really concerned about your friend, talk to other people who can help you help her. This is especially important if your friend is a minor. Her parents need to know about her destructive behavior.
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    View rebound relationships with caution. There are mixed reviews on whether or not it is a good idea to get into a new relationship right after a breakup. If your friend is jumping in to a new relationship right after breaking up with someone else, it may be a good idea to talk to her about her reasons for wanting to find a new partner.
    • If she is trying to fill the void left by her ex by getting into a relationship with someone who she wouldn't ordinarily be interested in, the rebound relationship will probably cause her more harm than good.[25]
    • If, on the other hand, she feels ready to get back out there and seems to have a good understanding of what she is looking for in a partner, a new relationship may be just what she needs.[26]


  • If your friend wants to talk, let her talk. Make sure that you are truly listening, rather than just hearing her talk. Do not interrupt.
  • You might find yourself in a tough situation if your friend is going through a breakup and you are friends with the ex as well. It's important to talk with your friends about their expectations so they won't end up getting angry with you for for talking to their ex in the future.

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Categories: Supporting Friends | Handling Rejection