Going through divorce and adjusting to life as a single person can be tough. With divorce such a regular part of life in Buffalo, there is a good chance that people reading this are getting divorced, or know someone who is.
It is the mark of a good friend to be there for our pals in good times and bad. When a friend is having a hard time dealing with their divorce, it is natural to want to help. But there is a fine line between helping pull a friend out of a low period in their life, and falling in yourself by becoming overly involved.
Though it might sound a little cold at first, failing to set limits to how much of a shoulder you provide to cry on could be bad for yourself — and your friend. Getting caught up in the cycle of drama may simply depress you, without providing the friend the support they need to move on from their divorce.
Here are some tips from the Huffington Post for how to be a good friend, without becoming consumed by their problems:
1. Remember that the trauma belongs to them, not you. This means that you stop obsessing about your friend’s divorce when they are not around.
2. Be sympathetic, not empathetic. Sympathy is, “I understand your pain,” which provides the necessary emotional separation that empathy, or “I feel your pain,” does not.
3. Resist the temptation to “fix” everything. You don’t know what your friend needs anyway. Wait for them to ask for help.
4. Set limits. Remember to live your own life too. Sometimes, a short reply to a text message or email is enough. Taking time out of being your friend’s support system will help you be a better friend in the long run.