7 tips to avoid hurt feelings when your friend is divorced
Written by Monica Donaldson Stewart

6 tips to avoid hurt feelings when your friend is divorced

When your friend is in the middle of a divorce, it can be difficult to know what to say. As a friend, you want to be supportive and cheer them on, but what if they aren’t ready for “cheer”? Sometimes, well-intentioned thoughts and actions can come across as offensive or inappropriate. Here are some tips to avoid hurt feelings when your friend is divorced.

How to Avoid Hurt Feelings When Your Friend is Getting Divorced

Divorce is an emotional time. Some people may feel a sense of relief or freedom, while others may have feelings of anger, guilt, failure, sadness and grief. Although it can feel like walking on eggshells when you’re trying to protect someone’s feelings, consider these tips to help you respectfully support your friend.

  • Listen. If your friend is willing to talk, offer them a sympathetic ear. Some people want to vent. Others just need to be heard. Listening without judgment lets them know that someone cares about what they are going through.
  • Keep the kids in mind. Divorce is often most difficult for kids. They have no control over what’s happening in their world and they should not be exposed to any “trash talk” about their other parent or extended family.
  • Be aware of what you share. In a world where “information overload” is always at your fingertips, it’s especially important to be careful about what you post on social media. “Sharing” an article with your friend might be taking their situation public sooner than they wanted. This caution goes for off-line activities as well – Is there a benefit to telling your friend that you saw their soon-to-be-ex on a date at a coffee shop?
  • Encourage a healthy outlet.  It isn’t unusual for a person going through divorce to isolate themselves and let their good habits go. Encourage a healthy outlet to help them manage their stress. This can include exercise, trying new recipes or even signing up for a class to learn something they’ve always wanted to do. Sometimes offering to do something together, such as going for a hike, could be just enough motivation to get your friend out of the house. Your friend might not be receptive immediately, but at some point, they will welcome a distraction.
  • Offer help. Is your friend struggling to pick their kids up from soccer practice? Are they in need of a home-cooked meal? Your friend may be worried about how to navigate life as a single parent. You can also offer any support that you’re comfortable giving, such as childcare or transportation. Find ways you can offer hands-on support to make this uncertain time a little more manageable.
  • Honor your own boundaries. Instead of having your friend guess where you stand in the situation, clarify what you will or will not do. Maybe you’ll listen to feelings, but not negative talk about their partner. Are you willing to join them for a “forget it all” night on the town? What if they ask to borrow money or to stay in your home? The answers may depend on the nature of your friendship,  but it’s essential to know how you’ll handle potential situations ahead of time.

Collaborative Divorce

Your friend may be uncertain about the road ahead – not just “life after divorce,” but the lawyers and the hearings and everything else involved in the process. Your friend may be unaware that not all divorces end in a bitter courtroom battle with the spouses hating each other. Before their case heads too far down that road, you may want to suggest the collaborative divorce process. It can help save time and money and reduce anxiety and stress compared to a traditional litigious divorce.

It’s not always easy to protect feelings when your friend is getting divorced. If you want to learn more about the benefits of collaborative divorce, contact a professional at Best Legal Choices today.