No matter how many breakups you go through in life, it never seems to get easier. And just like going through one yourself, it also never gets easier to watch a friend hurt after parting ways with someone they care about. It's why you'll want to figure out the best things to text a friend after a breakup, in order to
nothing about breakups is easy. " Relationships are soothing, while breakups are just the opposite," Julie Melillo, a life and dating coach, tells Bustle. "Your attachment system forms a bond when you fall in love. This person literally becomes a part of you, because this attachment system exists in the brain. To your brain, a relationship feels like someone feeding you delicious chocolate throughout the day. But during a breakup, the attachment system [...] is ripped apart and basically goes haywire."
That's why it's not uncommon for a person to feel lost, alone, sad, and confused post-relationship. Even if the breakup is ultimately for the best, they'll have to go through a tough adjustment period. With this in mind, it's important to tread carefully when
reaching out to a friend via text. Some people may need time to be alone with their thoughts.
But there are also plenty of things you can say to help them along the way until they feel better again. Here are a few text ideas.
1 "Want to spend a day away from social media with me?"
So many people lie in bed and scroll through social media after a breakup. They want to see their ex, check in on what they're doing — and maybe even do a little spying. But absolutely none of that is helpful.
"If someone is
struggling through a breakup and fixated on their ex, staying actively engaged in the relationship through social media will make it harder to move forward and the recovery will take longer," Dr. Cortney Warren, a clinical psychologist , tells Bustle.
As their friend, that's where you can swoop in and remind them to step away from their phone, if only for a couple of hours. Offer to take them out — like to a picnic in the park, or on a bike ride around the city — to give them a much-needed break.
2 "If there's anything you want to do, just tell me and we'll do it!"
While you'd like your friend to get out of bed, out of the house, and back into life, that's often way easier said than done. If their breakup just happened, they may not be able to pull themselves off the couch, much less get showered or dressed. And that's OK.
follow your friend’s lead," Aimee Hartstein, LCSW, a relationship therapist, tells Bustle. Let them decide what to do — and also let them know you're down for anything.
Say you'll come over and eat pizza and watch Netflix with them, if that's what they need, or that you'd be down to go out. Make it all about what they're feeling up to, at the moment.
3 "Your feelings are valid."
Every loss needs to be grieved,
Barbara Neitlich, LCSW, a psychotherapist, tells Bustle, so let this text serve as a much-needed reminder.
Also, tell your friend that grief comes in many forms, which is why they might be yelling and angry one moment, Neitlich says, and crying the next. It's all a valid response to the end of a relationship — especially if the relationship was a long one, and it ended unexpectedly.
To follow up, you could even text your friend and offer to come over and do all these things with them. It might be cathartic to spend an evening yelling into a pillow together or watching sad movies.
4 "You might act out of character right now, but give yourself some grace. You've got this!"
Similarly, remind your friend that it's OK if they're acting "out of character" post-breakup, especially if they're expressing concern over their choices.
"During breakups individuals sometimes find themselves having extreme behavior, such as driving by their ex's house a hundred times or deciding on a one-night stand when they normally would not,"
Julie Fanning, LCSW, a therapist, tells Bustle.
It'll help your friend remember they're going through the grieving process, she says — not permanently changing who they are as a person. If they're able to give themselves grace and forgiveness, they'll have an easier time moving on.
5 "I'll check in on you again tomorrow!"
Everyone handles breakups in their own way, and your friend might find that they prefer to spend a lot of time by themself. This text will let them know you understand they need space, but that you're thinking of them — and will follow up soon.
"Use a check-in time so your friend doesn’t feel pressure but knows they aren’t alone," Fanning says. "Your follow-up text could be as simple as, 'Hope you are hanging in there. Let me know if you need anything!'"
6 "You're getting stronger every minute."
Even though they might not be able to see it, your friend is healing little by little, with every day that goes by. And it might be comforting to remind them of that.
After all, anyone who’s ever gone through a breakup knows that it is not fun, but as time progresses, the pain lessens, “especially as we become attached to other things,"
Julia Katzman, LMSW, a therapist, tells Bustle. "The void gets filled up over time,” she says, though it is still painful at the beginning.
She says this is an empowering way of saying "time heals everything," without being too cliché.
7 "Want me to text you goodnight every night?"
One of the hardest things to adjust to after a breakup is loneliness. Your friend won't be falling asleep next to their partner, or receiving goodnight texts like they're used to,
Dr. Rebecca Leslie, PsyD, a licensed psychologist, tells Bustle.
This text shows you understand it's tough, Leslie says, and it also offers a solution to this very real problem they'll be experiencing until they fill the void with new people, hobbies, or experiences.
8 "I'm proud of you for having that conversation."
If your friend's relationship ended after a tough conversation, assure them that they made the right choice in speaking up — even though it resulted in a breakup.
"The cause of a breakup often comes from stating a need, addressing a concern, or saying something that has been left unsaid,"
Dr. Jenna DiLossi, a licensed professional counselor, tells Bustle. "Many people stay in relationships because they are not able to confront the struggles! Praising your friend for speaking their needs and advocating for themselves is important."
It might just save them from endlessly second-guessing themselves, and/or lying awake at night wondering "what if?"
9 "How are you feeling at this moment?"
Another way to be helpful is by giving your friend space to reflect on how they're currently feeling.
"This question helps the friend to increase awareness of how the break up has impacted them by slowing down and processing it in relation to their feelings,"
Sierra Hillsman, M.Ed., APC, NCC, CCTP, a licensed associate professional counselor, tells Bustle. "This question also encourages them to practice relentless honesty, rather than leaning on avoidance and dissociation to cope with the breakup."
It might just play a role in helping them to process and move on, but keep in mind not everyone does so quickly or on a predictable timeline. Be prepared to continue supporting your friend six months or more down the line — if you're able to — by making a point of sending more texts, hanging out, etc.
Coming through with a little extra love eight months after their breakup, once all their other friends have completely forgotten about it, can mean the world.
10 “I’m going to the grocery store. Send me your list so I pick you up some things.”
If your friend’s breakup is affecting their mental health, they might find it difficult to get basic tasks done — including running errands. In that case, taking the pressure of decision-making away and offering to help them out is a great idea.
According to licensed professional counselor
Amanda E. White, “Often when we are going through something difficult, doing basic things can feel hard. Even making decisions can be hard. Which is why [your friend] may not be able to answer the question, ‘what can I do to help?’ Instead, try to offer something for them that is basic but supports them.” 11 “What would be more helpful: staying in and hanging out, or going out and blowing off steam?”
Your friend might want to curl up on the couch in sweats with you, eat takeout, and cry... or maybe getting on the dance floor with a few cocktails in their system would be more healing for them. Either way, remaining open and accommodating to their needs is helpful.
White suggests this option to gauge how they are feeling after their breakup; it gives them options so they can choose based on where they’re at, but it can also take the stress of having to come up with ideas off their plate.
12 “I made a reservation for next Friday, want to come with me?”
“Anniversaries and holidays are some of the most difficult times for people post-breakup.”, White says. “Inviting them to your plans or offering to spend time with them during this time is a great way to offer support.”
If your friend went through their breakup near a milestone in their relationship or a major holiday, it can be extra tough for them to continue their healing through that time. This might be a time in which a distraction could be best for them; getting dressed up and going out to a fancy dinner together might keep them from laying in bed and crying about the special day they were supposed to have with their ex.
Even if you aren't sure of the perfect thing to say, remember — it's just about being there for your friend. Making an effort and letting them know they're loved and appreciated, as they go through this breakup, is a great start.
Additional reporting by Lexi Inks Experts: Julie Melillo, life and dating coach Dr. Cortney Warren, clinical psychologist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW, relationship therapist Barbara Neitlich, LCSW, psychotherapist Julie Fanning, LCSW, therapist Julia Katzman, LMSW, therapist Dr. Jenna DiLossi, licensed professional counselor Sierra Hillsman, M.Ed., APC, NCC, CCTP, licensed associate professional counselor Amanda E. White, LPC & author of “Not Drinking Tonight”
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This article was originally published on
July 15, 2019