6 Phrases Not To Say To Your Divorcing Friend
Divorcing is difficult. Friends and family want to support you. Just like in times of loss and grief, separation is equally difficult and finding the right words can be hard. As a support person, there are a few phrases not to say to your separating friend which will grate upon them. These include:
- Saying “At least you have your health.” While this may be true, without our health we aren’t able to care for others or earn an income, our health doesn’t make us feel better, help the situation or bring in needed funds.
- Saying “You’re going to be ok.” Yes, they will be ok, but again, this comment doesn’t make them feel better or fix anything. Maybe ask your friend “what can I do to help/support you?”
- Saying “You can stop pretending.” Often, when people become separated, the truth about the relationship becomes spoken about. Your friend just needs comfort and support. If this is the case, perhaps encourage them to speak with a counsellor, therapist or psychologist for appropriate treatment or strategy.
- Telling them to “Do this” or “Don’t do that.” Sometimes, it is better to direct your friend to a source where they can make up their own decisions or find recommendations for a good family lawyer.
- Telling them to “Get over it and move on.” Every individual’s separation and divorce progresses at different paces because every divorce is different. Similarly, the recovery process from the end of the marriage or relationship is different for every person – are they are the ‘dumper’ or ‘dumpee’? What the challenges or abuse encountered in the relationship? Have they invested energy and time in improving themselves following the relationship (by seeing a life coach, counsellor, therapist or other).
- Sharing bad advice. Friends, family and professionals who share bad or inaccurate advice could jeopardise the separation and proceedings. Be careful giving advice (especially when wrong) because the divorcee may become resentful, angry and direct their frustrations and anguish towards you.
More often than not, your friend needs to allowed to grieve and enjoy the occasional distraction. Invite them over for dinner, a drink or coffee. Check in with them regularly and make sure that they are coping and managing with their daily activities. Your separating friend want to feel important and valued. Be there for them, be available to their phone calls and most importantly make sure your friend feels supported, considered and that they matter. Don’t forget to remember them on special occasions – they may be on their own.