Sunday, May 26, 2013

8 Tips to be A Kickass Friend to a Divorcee

A friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.
-Anais Nin
I must have been an amazing friend the past 25 years or so. Like, someone give me a medal and throw me a parade kind of amazing. That’s my best guess as to how I’ve been so blessed with the company I keep.

After reading Confessions of a Serial Dater’s blog about the importance of positive friends, I immediately thought about my girlfriends. I always knew I had terrific friends, but over the past year, they’ve really proven themselves.

Here are eight ways that that my friends have been awesome to me as I’ve dealt with the end of my marriage:
  1. Don’t judge. My divorced readers know how anxiety-inducing it is find out people’s reactions to the D-word (especially after just three years of marriage). I’m sure some of my friends think I was out of my mind for staying in a sexless relationship for so long, but no one made me feel foolish. Instead, they seemed to actually admire me for trying so hard to make my marriage work. 
  2. Don’t badmouth the ex (unless he/she really deserves it). No one has been unkind about Max. Not one of my girlfriends said they never liked him anyway. For one thing, that’s irrelevant. For another thing, that would still upset me because it’s not like he betrayed me in some way. I appreciate that my friends followed my lead on this one.
  3. Offer your home as a place to escape to. My local friends have been generous about inviting me into their homes, whether welcoming me for dinner or for an entire month while Max and I sorted ourselves out. (Yes, I stayed with a friend for an entire month!) I often declined the invitations (for example, several friends offered the keys to their home while they were on vacation), but it meant so much that they loved and trusted me.
  4. Don’t force your friend to talk (even if you’re itching for the details). Leading up to the divorce, was very tight-lipped. Since I filed, I became much more open. All the while, if I wanted to talk, my friends were there (and by “there” I am including in person, phone, text, IM, email, and Skype/FaceTime). And if I didn't want to talk, they gave me my space.
  5. Surprise her. For my 33rd birthday (which fell halfway into my divorce waiting period), two of my best friends coordinated a surprise for me. Ali came from out of state with Broadway tickets in hand. I thought that was the surprise, and obviously I was thrilled. Turns out she and Sue had also coordinated a birthday dinner that included Lillian, Jen, Nora, and Celine (a high school friend). They had all traveled from the suburbs into New York City for it. On a rainy night. The night after Christmas! I couldn’t believe it.
    I <3 Haribo.
    But it wasn’t just my local friends who have stepped up. One of my best friends lives in Germany. For no particular reason, she sent me a care package with a snuggly shirt and Haribo gummy candies. I was so touched that she made that effort from across the ocean to make me smile.
  6. Hang out. I’ve heard tales of divorcees getting dumped by some friends. This hasn’t been true for me at all. My friends and their spouses have stayed my friends and still invited me to stuff. They don’t seem to think that divorce is contagious either. (I probably wasn't always super fun to hang out with either. Props to them for still asking me to do stuff.)
  7. Bring booze. My friends were always willing to crack open a bottle of wine with me, which sometimes meant me ending up crying and talking endlessly about my divorce. Sorry girls!
  8. Hug. Even though Max and I didn’t have sex, we did hug and hold hands and snuggle on the couch. Once our relationship was over, I was and am so deprived of physical contact. My girlfriends have been so sweet about doling out the hugs. More than ever, I need them.
I reference The Golden Girls as often as possible.
Yup, my friends like me anyway.
(Feel free to share this list with anyone who needs some pointers on how to be awesome.)

To all of my wonderful girlfriends, Thank You For Being A Friend. You have exemplified what it means to really love a friend through good times and bad.



How did your friends respond to your divorce? Have they been a source of support? Have any of your friends disappointed you?

See also: Why There's No Joint Custody of Friends After Divorce; The 8 Types of Friends You Need During Divorce9 Things a True Friend Would Never Do.

12 comments:

  1. Wonderful advice on how to be friend in general.

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  2. Making it through a difficult time is always made a little easier with good friends as your support system. It really shows you who your 'true' friends are.

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    1. Yup, and how fortunate I am that my true friends are many.

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  3. Thanks so much for the mention. Positive friends are so important during the divorce and after. I find I have hiccups along the way at times and it is good to know that I can always come back to my loving and supportive friends.

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  4. Yes. Thankfully no one has disappointed me.

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  5. Yup, and how fortunate I am that my true friends are many.

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  6. Denyse @ Glitter, Glue &amp; PaintDecember 13, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    What a great post! My husband walked out on me 3 months ago without warning after being together for 9 years. I can relate to all of this. Thanks for sharing at Throwback Thursday.


    xoxo
    Denyse

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  7. Yikes, I'm sorry to hear that. I hope your friends are there for you.

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  8. Hey, Kat! Long time, no speak! It's Courtney from The Brown Girl with Long Hair blog! I'm so glad I clicked on this one...


    I'm passing this on to my mom, as she will surely enjoy it...God knows she can relate to it: It's amazing the inability some "friends" and relatives have in helping those close to them get through a divorce.


    Case in point: My mom's twin of all people was the most judgmental of them all. (insert big eye-roll here)


    Stopping by from #TurnItUpTuesday

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  9. Yes, please do share! I am so lucky to have had such supportive friends. Good luck to your mom.

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