How to help a friend going through a broken engagement or Breakup

would have perished if not for my girlfriends during one of the hardest breakups of my life – a wedding called off three weeks before the wedding date, a broken engagement (this post went viral and I thought I would share how I survived thanks to my God and my friends). I was constantly surrounded by friends and I wanted to share tips on how you can be a supportive friend to a friend going through a breakup.

As a friend, your presence and support is so important during this broken time, you can help your friend to survive and your love and presence is a beautiful, wonderful, priceless gift that will assist with the healing process for your friend.

  1. Say something encouraging. I will never forget the words Kim said to me in her office. “That night that he broke up with you, was the best night of your future husband’s life.”
  2. Bring food. I went down to under 100lbs and I’m 5’8″ I just couldn’t eat, I couldn’t feel anything, not even hunger. Drop off groceries, make sure she eats, drop off meals, or just sit with her and make sure she eats. Jackie came and grocery shopped for me from what she remembered I had in my fridge. Roxanne dropped off a smoothie at my door. Michelle filled my freezer with ready made food she prepared.
  3. Keep her busy. Never let your girlfriends be by themselves too long. She’ll over think and get sad.
  4. Give her self-help books – or devotionals. Devotionals are great, especially if she is spiritual, then a dedicated one will help. So will typical self-help books or workbooks. Jackie went to the bookstore and bought a lot of hardcovers about relationships and highlighted them – the parts I needed to read, not the entire book – she read them for me! Share your favorite parts, highlights, used books are fine if they helped you. They can also be books that help her escape reality. I once got lost in the Twilight series.
  5. Check in with her, every few hours, every single day and be obsessive about it. Don’t just text. Call. Force yourself upon her too. Show up, tell her you are coming over. Ask her what she is doing. Never let her spend any holiday or important day by herself not even Valentine’s Day.
  6. Drop off presents at her door.
  7. Take her out to lunch. To talk, to not talk. No, to talk. To be with her and to just be present.
  8. Spend the night with her on the important days so she’s not alone. The big day that should have been, the honeymoon day, the whatever day of importance. Spend the night.
  9. Pray for her. With her, and when you aren’t with her. Tell her you are praying for her even when months or years pass she may look like she’s move on but she could still be hurting, or sad.
  10. Step in. If she has obligations it might be best to help her complete them. I was maid of honor and a fellow bridesmaid helped run most of the events because I was in a daze dealing with continued drama and it was so helpful for her to know I was in a strange space in my mind. She wasn’t even a friend of mine but stepped in to help celebrate our friend, I was so grateful.
  11. Be specific with your help. Instead of saying the blanket, “Let me know if you need anything,” say, “Do you have dinner plans, can we go to dinner? What night this week works for you? Want to go to lunch? Can I drop by and watch a movie with you?” No one will reach out with something specific so they can either say yes or no, and not have to come up with the idea of help, because your friend won’t.

Example of good friendship

I already had my bridal shower, we were just weeks away from the wedding. My mother flew in from California and met my girlfriends – she told them, she worried about me being in another state but after meeting my friends she realized I was going to be OK and well taken care of. She was right – because they were there a few weeks later picking up the pieces.

Meagan came over that night actually crossing paths with him before he left for good. Jennifer took over and supervised me the next afternoon to next day cleaning my room and I stayed the night with her. I called Sommer the next night one I realized it was really happening to share the news to the other girls, she was the strongest one to repeat the news 7 times to our group of girlfriends. I fell asleep to Nicole talking to me as I took a sleeping pill to numb my mind and drift off to sleep. My little sis Ariel drove up to see me and spend the night with me until Jackie could drive out from California to spend the week with me filling my fridge, buying books and reading them for me and highlighting only the parts I needed to read. Rachelle stayed the night with me, the night before the big day and I went to church that Sunday morning to worship and spent “that day” with my girlfriends Brenna, Nicole, Sommer, Jennifer, and Rachelle together making THAT day, OUR day. I ended the “would have been night” with girlfriends Jennifer, Meagan, Michelle and Jen who prayed with me.

I prayed for myself, and my ex, then I got into bed and spent the rest of the night praising God and writing my future husband an updated letter, a, phew, that was close letter but I know you’re out there. In between there were visits, Laura sent me a necklace for strength, cards of encouragement came in from high school friends, groups of girls from bible studies praying for me, encouraged me and together, all these wonderful women ones I didn’t name, close and far – they all helped me heal.

^^ Dropped off at my doorstep

I list these things which seem so crazy that I would remember after all this time – but it was impactful – not the broken engagement – it was the impact of my girlfriends stepping in like the sisters they are to me that are engrained in my heart. That’s what stands out above this entire situation. That situation occurred and the result were my friends who reacted in the most beautiful, wonderful loving way. They told me their hearts were broken and they felt like they all went through it – ask any of them and they would tell you how they hurt too, such true friends.

If you think you might be too busy (but are we really too busy for friends who are hurting??) or perhaps worried you might forget to check in, just put it in your calendar or an alarm set to check in on your friend every morning, every few hours. If you have a group, make sure you include everyone in the group and ask the person how they are doing. This makes the hurting person at the top of everyone’s mind and a team effort to get them talking and supporting.

You’re such a great friend for even reading this post! xx


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Diana Elizabeth Steffen setting the table for her annual garden party


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Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next creative themed party. She continues to blog weekly.


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