Just like the iconic song says, breaking up is hard to do. It doesn’t matter what stage of the relationship you’re at or whether it’s your first breakup or your fifth—ending it with someone never gets easier. A broken heart is difficult to mend, and time is one of the only things that truly heals it. Whether you’re the one doing the leaving or being left, you end up heartbroken nonetheless. Of course, that’s what friends are for.
Just because breakups are difficult doesn’t mean we should ignore them and hope the pain for those we love will go away. We truly believe there are ways to cheer up a friend going through a tough breakup and to help them see the silver lining with some kindness and TLC. So if you have a friend who’s going through this right now, we rounded up a few simple ways you can brighten their day.
Encourage them to grieve. Let them cry on your shoulder.
Do what they want to do. If it involves burning leftover cards or notes, have the matches ready!
Listen. Even if they're telling you the same story for the 207th time, listen to what they have to say.
Send a beautiful bouquet of flowers to their office (or house) just because—send one with meaning.
Make them feel understood with reassurance. Say something like: this really sucks—I’m so sorry this happened. You’re strong. I believe in you, or I can only imagine what you’re going through.
Don’t bring up past relationships.
Take them out. Bring them to a bar or somewhere you know there will be single eligible dates, and then let them get their flirt on.
Stage a photoshoot. Use the photos to help them create the most fabulous online dating profile ever—if they're ready, of course.
If they drink too much or start feeling too nostalgic, confiscate their phone. They will be cheered up the next morning to learn that they didn’t contact their ex.
Surprise them with a manicure, blowout, or spa treatment at their favorite salon.
Sign up for a new hobby together. Take that calligraphy class you have been talking about already.
Show up at their house on a random weeknight with a bottle of wine and take-and-bake pizza. Agree to binge-watch whatever television show they want—documentaries are a great place to start.
Make them laugh by sending them daily funny emails, or text them pictures of adorable teacup pigs doing human-like things such as eating ice cream and playing the guitar.
Put together a gift basket for them. Place their favorite magazine, a bottle of wine, a few sweet and salty snacks, and some self-care essentials into a fun tote. Leave it in front of their door with a note telling them how much you love and value your friendship.
Invite them over for dinner. Light candles and set the table. If they love mushrooms but their ex hated them, make mushroom lasagna.
Get them to do something active. Set up a Monday-morning walk date, or sign up for that 10-week cardio kickboxing boot camp together.
Send them a box of extravagant chocolates—or one of these healthy chocolate bars.
Take them to a pet adoption event. Let them cuddle with some puppies or kittens.
Plan a day trip. Visit a winery or museum you know they've been wanting to check out, like some gorgeous Napa vineyards.
Bring them to Sephora and convince them to splurge on that expensive skin cream.
Get your dance on. Have a dance party at home with drinks and a ’90s throwback playlist, or head to a bar that you know has a good DJ and crowd of people dancing on Friday or Saturday night.
Invite them to a concert. If you can afford it, buy their ticket.
Go shopping and help them pick out a couple of new date outfits.
Host a vision board–making night. Invite them over to browse old magazines while drinking sidecars. Cut out images of what you want your future to be, and turn it into a collage.
A breakup can deflate someone's self-esteem, so give them the gift of confidence. Make a list of everything you love about them. Write it on a pretty piece of stationery and send it to them through snail mail.
Happiness Guaranteed Essentials
This post was originally published on January 25, 2016, and has since been updated.