To get through a divorce you must find acceptance in where you are in life. And, surround yourself with best friends who will help you survive by being there when they are needed. Or, not being there when not needed.
There is so much you can give your best friend when she's going through a divorce. I've been blessed with some of the best friends around during my divorce and here is why. Because I have great friends who've been willing to wallow in the negativity with me and shore me up when I felt I was sinking.
1. Be the sister she never had:
For me, growing up with three brothers meant playing tractors, riding bikes and digging for frogs after the rain in the ditch at the end of the driveway. This was exactly what I needed then. And, although I still need my brothers in my life, now I really need a sister. I need someone during my divorce to listen and be like “yeah, that totally sucks.” I need someone to sit on the back patio with a cocktail, a cheese and cracker tray and some chips and salsa and ask, “Are you sure this is what you want?”
I long for a sister during these early divorce days. Fortunate for me, I got plenty through the ladies I call my best friends. I've found goodness I had never experienced before. My best friends are strong women with busy lives yet still find time for me. I will never forget the cool fall day I said to my best friends on that back patio, “I think I’m going to leave.” Their reaction was simply “we got your back.”
2. Let me use their mailing address:
I had no idea I would get so much mail after filing for divorce. I should have figured as much, but there was so much chaos around filing, planning and organizing that mail wasn’t top of mind. When my attorney’s secretary asked me, “Is there a mailing address we can use,” I was taken back. Who could I trust to be responsible for mail and get it to me quickly? It was one of my best friends. She was more than willing to help and glad I asked. She received packets, attorney bills, and certified letters. One of the best things you can be is reliable with the mail for your bestie. She’ll never forget it.
3. Sent texts for no reason:
There’s always something heartfelt about random texts. I feel so popular receiving something snarky from my kids, helpful from my mom or clever from my brother. During my divorce, random texts from my best friends were incredible tokens of faith that really kept me going. Stuff like “How are you doing,” “I’m thinking of you,” and “Do you want to go grab dinner?” These were texts that even when I said “fine, thanks, and no,” I appreciated and needed.
These were texts that when I said “ok, thank you, and maybe next time,” my best friends respected but refused to let go. They would text for minutes or hours if I needed it just to say “I’m here.”
4. They left me alone if I need to be alone:
Sometimes it was hard for people to understand that in the heat of things I just wanted to be alone. I’d get to a place of being so sad, upset and scared that I knew I didn’t need to be around people. I didn’t want to be. I was beyond consoling or logic. I just wanted to cry – the kind of cry when you can’t breathe and sniffle fast and furiously like a repeating hiccup.
And I wanted to cry alone. I didn’t want to hear “it will be ok,” and I didn’t want to have to explain what I was feeling. My good friends would say “You should have called me! Don’t be alone when you’re like that!” My best friends would say “Call or text me when you want to talk. I’m here when you need me.” Best friends know the difference between let me be and be with me.
5. They didn't try to solve my problems:
When I listen to people who've gone through divorce, my tendency is to want to solve their problem. I consider myself a decent listener, but I know I can really be annoying when I’m constantly thinking of the next thing I want to say. I can also be really frustrating when I say “I know how you feel.” Well, guess what? I don’t. Even though I’ve been in the exact same situation, I don't know how someone feels. And that realization hit me hard when I was going through my divorce.
I remember a friend telling me she was getting divorced a few years back. She had four kids, a big house, a good job and they appeared to be happy. I remember thinking “why would and how could she do that? Could it be that bad?” I was not a best friend. I was not even a good friend. I had no idea what she was going through. I should have said, “I’m here when you need me.” I’ve learned a great lesson in understanding I haven’t been there even if I have. My best friends taught me this lesson, too.
6. Say “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
As someone who suffers from depression, I often try to rationalize that what I’m feeling is wrong or dumb and shut down. I don’t want to talk to people because I’m afraid of being judged. Someone is going through worse so why should I be upset? I don’t want to admit I’m unhappy because I’m thinking about the 100 reasons why I should be. I have lots of reasons to be happy so why should I let something bother me?
Well, my best friends were perfect enough to say “I’m sorry you feel that way.” These superheroes just acknowledged my sadness, let me have my vicious pity party and helped me eventually get out of a dark cloud to see all the reasons why I'm not judged and should be happy. Best friends know how to use this phrase genuinely.