Knowing how to be a good friend is one thing. Knowing how to be a good friend for someone going through a divorce can feel like a totally different thing. However, being a friend for someone during a divorce isn’t all that different from being their friend through everyday struggles.
Here are three ways you can help a friend who’s going through a divorce, especially around the holiday season.
Listen and Accept, Don’t Judge
It’s not important that you know every detail about what made the marriage end. Refrain from asking questions or offering your thoughts about why the marriage didn’t work. Simply listen and accept what your friend is saying.
Don’t give advice or your opinion unless your friend asks for it. Just support them and validate their feelings about why they chose to leave or all the things they did to make the marriage work.
Keep Showing Up
It’s easy to disappear during your friend’s divorce. He or she may not be asking for anything and you may not know what they need. Don’t let this stop you from being present in your friend’s life.
Invite them to dinner. Invite them over to relax and have girl time. Offer to help with the kids, make dinner, anything. It’s important that you keep showing up, keep inviting them places, and keep calling, regardless of how withdrawn your friend may be.
Of course, divorce isn’t a cheerful time and you’re likely busy and stressed from the holidays. You can still make time to be cheerful for your friend and help them create new traditions. Have sleepovers with the kids, help decorate their home, or see a movie together.
Don’t wait for your friend to ask you to do something. They may not know the words. But you can provide a space where they can feel like everything is normal for a while during this difficult time.
Going through a divorce can be frightening and stressful, especially around the holiday season. You can be a good friend to your newly separated or divorced friend during this time by simply listening, being there, and helping with holiday cheer!