A close friend is getting a divorce. This is unexpected. Not just by me; my friend didn't expect this either. Any "been there" advice regarding how I can help/support her?
A good friend of mine went through an unexpected divorce a few years ago. I found the best thing was to just be there. I would go to her house and just sit with her. I'd bring her a coffee or a smoothie and she'd drink it or not. I'd take her dogs for a walk and ask her to come, sometimes she'd come, sometimes not. She was a zombie for many weeks but I never pushed her to do or say anything. I was just THERE. Sometimes she would cry, sometimes she would rage, sometimes we'd watch a movie and act like nothing was wrong. Eventually she came around and started talking about things and asking for advice/help/etc. In the early stages it wouldn't have done any good to ask her what she needed because I don't think she knew what she needed.
Every situation is different so your friend may need different things but regardless of specifics, I think being a consistent presence is the best thing you can do as a friend.
for you and for your friend.
I had a friend go through this too. I just practiced active listening. Her moods swung pretty widely for quite a well, which is understandable. She needed money so I gave her some.
I think it is important to not question what led up to the end, or if with hindsight she can see when things went wrong. I think there is a pattern for some women who find divorce really scary, and they want to hear if there were signs ahead of time so that they will know what to be on guard for in their own relationships. I think this a completely inappropriate response to someone who is in shook. We can't allow someone else to process their own stuff if we need -- at any level -- for them to assure us that it could never happen to us.
but everything has pros and cons
Thanks both of you. I simply want to be "there" for my friend. She is usually outgoing, but has kinda locked herself away because of this. I don't want her to think I have any expectations of her. I just want her to know that she has us and is not alone. I have no intention of questioning her, I think that would be cruel.
i have been in her shoes. and since then i have been the support of other friends in the same shoe too.
i think though the idea that it comes as a surprise i dont believe in. perhaps like me she denied the signs - she saw the cracks but would not admit to them.
Being there is the key. I had some friends come thru who were there for me. that was huge. those friends who i could call at 1 am coz i was having a panic attack - that's when it hits. or as i pumped milk at work and cried, had a friend sit with me to stop me crying.
also be understanding. she might be rude or brusque sometimes. dont take that personally.
go with your gut feeling. if she needs to get out of the house, she probably does. go over and go for a walk. exercise and new surroundings help greatly.
if she has kids offer to baby sit when she has to run errands.
you can help in so many little ways that will make a huge difference to her.
know it will take time. it took me almost a year to gather my strenght. i relied on my friends heavily in the beginning but i was ok after teh first few months.