Have you ever been caught up in a situation when your BFF is in shambles trying to keep herself sane while she goes through a tough break up? I have, and it was one of the biggest lessons for me as a friend, daughter, and life coach.
Let me give you a little background about me. I’m a total “problem solver type of person” and I love to jump in with kernels of wisdom right when anyone comes to me with their problems. My close friends joke that I am a walking pinterest board and that every moment for me is a lesson or a teaching moment. But, I learned over time that jumping in with my own personal stories and experiences is not the most effective way to help another person. It is putting the focus on myself. Pretty subconsciously selfish, am I right?! Very sneaky ego moment…
I remember exactly what happened. My best friend came over after having had a blowout fight with her boyfriend that led to a bad break up. I tried to tell her to find the positive by empowering her with my words. She chimed in hesitantly and mumbled, “Catherine, you know… I love you, but sometimes all I need you to do is to just listen. You know, just a simple, I’m sorry you’re going through this. That sucks and I feel your pain.” This was such a lightbulb, eye-opening moment for me. I was so taken aback by this because it was the last thing I expected to hear coming out of her mouth. To be completely real with you, I thought she was going to tell me how great my advice was.
“Oh.” I couldn’t even come up with anything else. She continued with, “it’s totally the life coach in you. You’re always looking for solutions, which is great, but you need to let me have my grieving period.” She was totally right. Any time I have ever gone through a difficult time, I embraced the feelings because they were always a call-to-action for me. Maybe you need to go through the period of feeling awful for letting your boyfriend treat you like you were unworthy. This experience could be the foundation where your self-love journey can begin, if you allow yourself to learn from what seems like the most tragic experience. Instead of numbing your feelings and trying to shove them away, let yourself have your “wallowing period.” In due time, you will be able to connect the dots as to why all of this was positive for your soul growth.
This is when I realized that the most important thing to do when you’re comforting your BFF is to do nothing at all. Just empathetically listen and be present with your friend. Instead of checking your phone or going through your to-do list in your head, just really be in the room with her to hear her out. This will give your friend the comfort she needs to feel truly supported during the difficult time. After some time, your BFF will be ready for the pep-talks you have ready to throw her way. But without validating her for feeling badly, she will feel more afraid to speak up to you at all. The more you listen, the more she will open up. Listening will give you a chance to really step into her shoes to truly empathize with what she’s going through.
One of my favorite Gabby Bernstein meditations is the W.A.I.T. check-in : “Why Am I talking?” Make sure you remember that this isn’t about you. It’s about being there for your friend who needs you. Your friends will appreciate this. Once I started implementing this into my own life, my friends noticed. So, develop your listening skills. That will best way to support your BFF’s healing process post break up.