I’ve talked a lot about what not to say to your friends when they’re going through a divorce. How not to act. What they don’t need. It all sounds rather negative, I suppose, but the truth is divorce is a negative thing. There’s very little “bright side” to deal with in that kind of situation, unless you’re darkly sarcastic (something I have little to no true life experience with). But it occurs to me that, if you’re the sort of person who has a friend experiencing divorce and is looking for some kind of help or wisdom (such as it is), it may not be sufficient to only tell you what not to do.
So this is the post where we begin to talk about what kind of things might be helpful to do in a situation like that. Noting, of course, that each situation and friendship is different and you may need to adjust accordingly. These are just suggestions, some from my own experience and some from lack of it. You will have your own experience and wisdom to draw from. Which leads us to our first tip.
Trust yourself and your knowledge of your friendship. You know this person and you know the relationship you have with them. You know the strengths you have as a person and a friend and you know what your friendship provides in their life. Those things are still needed. A divorced person isn’t an alien. They still need the same things: to be understood, listened to, supported, encouraged. You can continue doing those things in mainly the same ways you always have.
One of the things that makes us freeze up into lack of action, I think, is simply the uncertainty of ourselves or what the situation calls for. What the situation of your friend’s divorce calls for, however, is friendship. And that’s something you can already do. Have, in fact, already been doing. Surely this isn’t the first hard thing your friend has undergone with your support. Surely you’ve undergone difficult things with theirs. Severity is not so much the issue. As the demand for love increases, so does love increase. Try and see.