Listen Until It Hurts
In Jewish culture, when a loved one dies, immediate family members gather together for a period of mourning, referred to as a time of sitting shivah. It’s a beautiful tradition where life pauses for seven days to honor loss and to freely grieve the one who has passed.
When comforting a friend through a breakup, often the most immediate and appropriate response is to mimic the process of sitting shivah. Relieve yourself of any pressure to offer advice, take sides against the ex, or analyze where things went wrong. Simply offer the comfort of your presence and listen as your friend reflects.
In the first few days following a breakup, it’s important not to express your feelings around the relationship beyond your sympathy for her loss. There is a chance the couple could reconcile or perhaps your friend’s feelings will evolve as the days pass. Negative statements about the ex may be resented later and commentary about why things fell apart may add to the confusion. Let your silence speak volumes about how much you care.