Although divorce is a process of dividing two into one, it is something that is much easier handled with the help of your friends. The solidarity, understanding, and emotional stability provided by a stable friend group is extremely important when you are going through such a major life change.
Our team of Orange County divorce mediation attorneys at Alternative Divorce Solutions have compiled a list of tips to help you be the best support you can be to your friends through their divorce. Let our years of experience with divorce and mediation guide how you handle your friend’s needs in this process.
How to Encourage a Friend Going Through a Divorce
When you know that someone you love and care about is going through a rough time, you want to do the best thing you can to be a good friend. This includes being supportive and positive during a divorce and putting your friend at the top of your priority list throughout the storm.
Use the 10 tips below to help you be supportive for your friend in a divorce:
- Listen: Be there to listen to your friend without trying to “fix” things or empathize by offering similar anecdotes from your own life. Try to simply, genuinely listen; letting your friend vent and give them time to let their emotions flow. (Even if you hear the same thing repeatedly.)
- Ask what they need: Ask if there are specific ways that you can help, if they need partner-like chores to be done, or anything other than the obvious. Sometimes on simple, yet unexpected thing can make all the difference.
- Invite them out: Even if the decline for weeks in a row, continue to invite them because someday, they will accept, and because it lets them know they are not forgotten.
- Keep your judgements to yourself: Whether you want to say, “I told you so!” or you want to vent about how much their ex did that drove you nuts, now is not the time. Your friend is probably feeling sad, defeated, and possibly even missing their partner, so keep your judgements at bay for now.
- Offer to babysit: Divorced parents have it hard, especially at first, when they are learning how to juggle time with their children, maintaining a household on one income, and rebuilding their life. Give them a break by babysitting, even if it is just so they can take a walk or a bath.
- Don’t push: Whether you want them to come to a resolution or you are “encouraging” them to move on, don’t rush the process by being pushy. Everyone heals in their own time.
- Show up: Sometimes your friend might need you to come over and just be there with them, without plans to do anything at all. If they seem to need a friend but have not been answering the phone or have been hinting but not directly asking, try showing up—with their favorite snack or treat.
- Don’t pry: Even your best friend may have details about their relationship that you were not aware of, ones that they kept secret for a reason, so don’t push for more information. Allow your friend to share what he or she wants, and don’t pry for more.
- Keep gossip at bay: Whether this means not gossiping yourself, or by squashing any gossip that you encounter, part of being a good friend is protecting your friend from the words of others, including your own.
- Don’t give advice: If your friend is asking about custody arrangements, child support, alimony or legal advice, direct them to the professionals—on our team. Their situation is unique, and they may have financial circumstances that differ from your own. Leave the legal counsel to those who are experienced and unbiased.
Divorce Counsel from the Professionals
If someone you care about is facing a divorce, it is understandable for them to seek the support and advice of friends, but there are some things that should be left to the professionals. Let our team of mediation lawyers aid with the legal process of divorce and mediation. Let us handle the courtroom counsel, so you can be there for emotional support and to congratulate them when it is over.