1. “YOU’LL GET OVER IT.”
Yes, we know we’ll get over it, but that’s not a very kind thing of you to say. Remember your last break-up? Would you have wanted someone to brush it all off with a dismissive, “You’ll get over it?” Probably not.
2. “TIME HEALS EVERYTHING.”
Yup, we’ve heard this a lot. The problem is though that we’re hurting right now. This is one of those things that people say that is true, yes, but totally unhelpful. Right, we’ll just let old Grandfather Time take care of this, as we twiddle our thumbs and try not to break in pieces.
3. “WHAT AN ASSHOLE! / I NEVER LIKED HIM ANYWAY.”
I understand why people immediately want to attack the ex – you’re trying to say you’re on our side, and it’s a way of showing support, but I fear it’s misguided. See, the problem with my ex isn’t that he’s an asshole. It just didn’t work out. I believe he is a good guy. So when you attack him, I feel the need to defend him, which is something I really don’t feel like doing right now. Before you attack anyone’s ex, keep in mind that you don’t know the circumstances of the break up, and you may be harming rather than helping.
4. “YOU’RE SO MUCH BETTER OFF.”
Uhhh thanks. What exactly are we supposed to do with this? Nod, put on wayfarer sunglasses, and blast Tina Turner’s “I Ain’t Missing You”? This goes back to the attacking the ex thing, but it’s somehow worse; it suggests that the entire time we were with this person, we shouldn’t have been, and that everything was all for nothing. And the thing is, it certainly doesn’t feel like we’d be better off. We’re in pain; don’t cast us into the ocean just yet. We’re not ready to swim.
5. “REMEMBER, EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON.”
Yes, thank you Dumbledore, how astute. This is just one of those clichés that we can’t handle hearing right now. Because you notice how no one ever says this phrase when something amazing or wonderful happens? It’s always when something disappointing happens. When applied in a situation like getting dumped, all it sounds like is the loser’s mantra. Please, no clichés during this time.
So what SHOULD you say? Something kind and honest like,
“This really sucks right now. I’m so sorry this is happening. I am here for you to talk to, whine to, complain to, whatever, and I will be there with your drink of choice, because I care about you and you’re my friend.”
If you say this, we’ll love you forever. Because sometimes, real friendships last longer than most relationships.