What You Should Absolutely Never Say To A Recently Single Friend

When a friend has just gone through a breakup, there are certain rules that need to be followed. They're most likely going to be more sensitive or fragile than usual, and since the last thing you want to do is upset them, conversations can feel a little like navigating a mine field.


There's no correct way to grieve (and grief is exactly what your friend may be dealing with, even if the relationship wasn't that old), so it's important to validate your friend's emotions. Let them know that whatever they're feeling is okay. Avoid trivializing their pain by telling them to get over it or that they should be out there dating again, even if you think the tough love approach will be best for them in the long run.

Though it seems like it might make your friend feel better, try not to talk negatively about their ex or their relationship. Even with the best intentions behind them, these things can actually leave your friend feeling worse about their breakup.

You hated their ex anyway

It seems natural to speak negatively about your friend's ex when the relationship is over. You might buy into the logic that by highlighting that ex's flaws, your friend won't feel so sad to have lost them. But, unfortunately, emotions aren't logical. Even if the ex is the worst person on this planet, your friend is likely to feel sad that they're gone, regardless of who initiated the breakup. This is especially true when the breakup is fresh and your friend is still grieving — the realization that the ex is trash (if they are) will probably come much later in the healing process, when your friend can look back on the experience with a clearer head.


It might also be the case that the ex is a great person, and your friend has lost someone that they didn't want to lose. Pretending the situation is anything different can come across as condescending and make your friend feel like they don't have the space to grieve properly.

The other major reason why you should avoid saying this is because there's always the chance that they might get back together. If they do end up reuniting, it's going to be awkward for your friend to know how you really feel about their partner.

It's not that bad

Telling a person going through any kind of hard time that "it's not that bad" may seem like the right thing to do. But rather than providing comfort, this actually has the effect of minimizing their experience. Avoid saying anything to this effect because it may make your friend feel like they're not allowed to feel sad.


You might not view the breakup as a big deal if your friend wasn't with their ex for very long, but short-term relationships, and even almost relationships, have the power to break hearts, too. Three-week relationship breakups can be just as painful as three-year ones. And often when less serious relationships end, the people involved don't get the closure or sympathy they would with more established relationships, so it can feel even worse.

Regardless of the circumstances, the breakup probably did feel really bad for your friend, so it's important to recognize that. Instead of telling them that they shouldn't be upset, let them know that whatever they're feeling is okay. They're allowed to grieve however they want and there are no time limits.


Your friend should get back out there

You might be tempted to say this because you just want to see your friend happy again. But when they're only recently single, this is probably the last thing they want to hear.

Rebound hook-ups aren't inherently a bad thing, but your friend should only pursue one if they want to — not because they want to prove to anyone that they've moved on. Additionally, rebound hook-ups should come when a person has had a chance to process their grief and is past the initial shock and sadness of a relationship breakup. The suggestion to get back out there when they're not ready is likely to make them even more frustrated.


This is actually something to avoid telling single people in general, even if they're not fresh out of a relationship. The advice assumes that all single people want to either be dating or in a relationship, and disregards those who are just happy being single. Maybe your friend might be enjoying her single girl era, or perhaps it's a lifestyle she'd like to keep for the long run. Both are perfectly okay.

You saw this coming

Basically, no good can come out of letting your friend know that you predicted their breakup. If they were dumped out of the blue and they're still in shock, they may get mad at you for not warning them of the red flags you saw. Or they may feel resentful because this line can make it seem like you wanted their relationship to fail. But most likely, they'll feel embarrassed that they were oblivious to problems that were apparently clear to everyone else.


Even if you did see this breakup coming from a mile away, keep it to yourself. Depending on the situation, your friend may have already worked out that the breakup is no surprise to you — especially if you spoke to them about your concerns at some point in the relationship. So try to avoid putting on an act and pretending to be surprised, as well. Don't comment at all on whether you are shocked or not; just be there for your friend in their time of need.