Being dumped is always a horrid experience, and for a guy it can be particularly tough, since men are often expected to grin and bear difficulties without giving into tears. Your newly-ditched buddy is fortunate to have you for a friend, because your support and listening ears will help him greatly in the months to come. Approach him with empathy and understanding, and you'll not only help him to cope, but will likely deepen what may become a lifelong friendship.
Listen. It's one of the most meaningful things you can do for your friend at this time, says psychologist Sasha Carr. Avoid giving advice -- simply nod your head as he tells you about the way his ex-girlfriend took him for granted for the fifth time.
Text or call him periodically, advises Carr, noting that one of the most difficult aspects of a breakup is the loss of regular daily communication with another person. Email him funny jokes that cross your path or text him a picture of your cat teetering on top of your fish tank. He'll have a good laugh and feel cared for to boot.
Distract your friend by asking him to accompany you on a day hike or to your company softball game. Sitting at home alone in the evening can be tough when a person is accustomed to sharing his time with another person. By taking him under your wing, you'll provide him with something to do other than mull over that photo of him and his ex-girlfriend at a friend's wedding.
Use empathetic words when you talk to your friend. Instead of consoling him by telling him there are plenty of other girls out there, say, "It sounds like you really miss her," advises grief educator Val Walker. Rather than insisting he get over it, let him know that recovering from a failed relationship can take time.
Discourage your friend from using drugs, alcohol or food to cope. Dealing with the breakup in this manner is destructive and will only cause him to put off dealing with feelings that will have to be addressed sooner or later. If your buddy is downing a six-pack every night, encourage him to talk instead or to see a mental health professional.
Encourage your buddy to take time to take care of himself. Ask him out to dinner on a night when you suspect he is planning to stop by the drive-thru of a fried chicken place yet again. Ask him how his training for the marathon is going and encourage him to continue despite his emotional state.
- Refrain from becoming part of a rebound relationship if you're female. Your friend's loneliness and need can cause him to make decisions that are not well-thought through. Such a relationship is not likely to last and can destroy your friendship.
Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.