Wednesday, February 17, 2010

When someone get divorced. (Say the right thing.)

The common thread in this situation is the assumption that a friend who's getting divorced is overlooking something. But odds are that she's been considering this move carefully for a long time.

No matter how resolved she is about her decision, though, a divorce still brings out all sorts of feelings: anger, guilt, shame, sometimes even a sense of relief. "The best thing you can do is listen," says Randi E. Patt, a psychologist in private practice in Philadelphia. "Emotions run high when a marriage breaks up, and your friend needs someone who can help her deal with her feelings."

Don't say:
"Was he cheating?" Never press for details - it's none of your business unless your friend needs to vent.
"Did you think about how this will affect the children?" Yes, your friend has probably thought about this far more than you can imagine.
"My parents got divorced when I was a kid, and I used to wish they could get back together." Your story is not relevant - unless your friend explicitly asks for your memories on this subject.

Do say:
"I just called to see how you're doing and to tell you I'm sorry that you've been going through such a difficult time."
"How are you holding up? Let me know if you'd like to meet for coffee."
"You're going to get through this."

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