The coronavirus pandemic has caused couples to become irritated with each other. The rise in gray divorce shows us that many couples are ending their marriages regardless of how old they are or how long they have been married. With many people getting divorced over the past year, chances are you know someone who is calling it quits.
Even though you may still be married, you may be feeling emotional. It can be hard to navigate the divorce of a close friend. This is probably the most emotional event they have ever gone through. What do you say? What do you do?
Like many people, you may be afraid to say the wrong thing. How do you show your sympathy and support without sounding like an idiot? Very carefully.
Things can be even more difficult if you were friends with both parties. However, there are some things you can do to stay neutral. For example, you should still invite both partners to a party or other celebration. The couple can then decide who will attend. Show compassion but do not badmouth or accuse either party of anything. You do not know the specifics of the marriage, so that is not your territory. You should also provide support, but set boundaries. Sometimes people get too needy and carried away and they may call you at all hours of the day to talk or ask you to help. Your time is a priority.
A little bit of sympathy goes a long way. Here are some other ways you can support a friend who is going through a divorce.
Keep Inviting Them to Events
Many people going through a divorce say that their friends have started avoiding them and no longer inviting them to do anything. Do not be that friend. Stay involved in their lives and do not shun them because of their divorce. In fact, your friends need your support now more than ever. Even if your divorcing friend declines, keep inviting them out. They may feel too overwhelmed to do anything, but they will eventually come around. They want to feel wanted, so do not give up hope.
Help Them Move
Yes, moving stinks, but it really stinks when it is due to a divorce. If your friend has to move, they are likely feeling very emotional about it. Be a good friend and help them move. Helping them pack, organize, and load the moving truck can be a source of comfort during this difficult time.
Help Them With Spousal Duties
Keep in mind that your friend no longer has a partner. They do not have someone to go shopping, make dinner, watch the kids, or help around the house. Try to fill in and help whenever possible. It is best to be specific. Tell them you can watch their dog on the weekends. Let them know you can do yard work. Your friend will be grateful and they will feel better knowing they have someone they can count on, even though they longer have a spouse.
Everything is better with food. Cooking dinner can be a chore for someone who is overwhelmed with all the details of a divorce. Be a friend and bring over a home-cooked meal to show you care. If cooking is not your thing, takeout would be appreciated. When in doubt, choose pizza. Who could resist drowning their sorrows in a delicious pizza?
Avoid Bad Mouthing Their Ex
If your friend is trashing their ex, you may feel obligated to join in. However, refrain from doing so. Divorce is an emotional time, and it is possible for your friend to feel angry one day and happy the next. You do not want to be known as the friend who bashed the ex. Instead, listen without judgment. You do not want to get carried away. Instead, let your friend know you support their decisions
Do Not Ask for Details
Avoid being nosy. You do not need to know the nitty-gritty details of the marriage’s demise and any other personal details. If your friend wants to share them on their own, then be willing to listen. Otherwise, do not pressure your friend to talk. He or she may not be ready to open up yet. Instead, distract them with a funny video or an uplifting meme.
Ask What They Need
If you feel weird dropping by with food or something else unexpectedly, just ask your friend what they need. You do not need to be a mind reader. Ask if there is anything you can pick up for them or do for them. Sometimes people do not like asking for help, so be proactive and ask them yourself.
Sometimes people just want someone to listen. However, this takes a lot of patience, as you may hear the same things over and over again, and that is fine. When people are feeling overwhelmed, they just need to talk, and sometimes it can be repetitive. Do not feel as though you need to give advice unless you are specifically asked to do so. Instead, just listen. Do not judge. You do not even need to say anything. Just nod your head and show you care.
Seek Legal Help
Dealing with a friend’s divorce can be devastating. It is hard to maintain friendships with both parties, so you may be forced to choose sides.
The best thing you can do is support your friend during this difficult time. If they need legal resources, refer them to Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler. We have more than 30 years of experience dealing with the divorce process. To schedule a consultation, fill out the online form or call (954) 346-6464.