When you go through a separation, you may not be prepared for the loss of relationships with friends and family that takes place. These devastating losses, at an already difficult time, can be quite shocking. The losses may not be immediately apparent but can add up over time. If you are going through a separation try to keep your true friends. Often separating people cut themselves off from friends inadvertently when their coping abilities are at their worst. Here are my suggestions to make it easier to maintain the true friends you want to keep.
How to maintain friends during a separation:
If you know what you need, tell your friends upfront what would be most helpful to you.
- If you want to hear advice, let your friends know any ideas and feedback are welcome and appreciated but do not pressure them.
- Listen respectfully to any suggestions and thank your friends. Tell them you appreciate their ideas or advice, but will do what you feel is right for you.
- If you prefer not to have advice, and you are receiving it, let your friends know that you are not ready to listen to feedback.
- Be assertive if you do not want to talk about the situation at all and friends are asking. You do not owe an explanation of your situation to anyone.
Talking about your issues can be helpful to work through your emotions but choose whom to confide in carefully.
- If confidentiality is important to you, make sure it is also important to those you share with.
- Be aware that some ‘friends’ may just be there to collect the scoop. Do not feed their appetite for gossip unless you want to be gossiped about.
- Know that what you say may come back to bite you, so keep your words as positive as possible and speak with integrity. ‘The Four Agreements’ by Don Miguel Ruiz is a good read as it offers a powerful code of conduct.
Respect the limits your friends may have for dealing with your separation.
- If friends are trying to remain unbiased to both you and your ex-partner they may not want to hear any bad-mouthing. Respect this.
- Unloading your emotions on friends that are not sure how to handle it can make things uncomfortable. Be sensitive and respectful.
- Do not take it personally if friends do not want to hear much about your situation. Be respectful and let them distance themselves if they need to.
- Do not keep repeating the same things to friends. Try to discuss issues once, then either do something about it or accept it and move on.
Acknowledge your role in the separation and take responsibility for it.
- Fault always lies on both halves of an ex-couple but this fact sometimes takes a while to sink in. No one is perfect. Your friends will respect your mature view of the situation.
- Playing the victim may be good for some initial attention. The sooner this stage is done the better for everyone. Few true friends enjoy a pity party for very long.
Look after yourself. Your friends want to see you coping as best you can. See my recent blog on self-care for some ideas.
Keep your sense of humour and adventure!
- Share laughter with friends at every opportunity. Things may be pretty amusing even in the worst of times if you can laugh at yourself and your situation. My own separation was full of amusing ironies.
- Push yourself to accept invitations for fun activities with friends. You will feel better for the change of scenery.
Make your own decisions. This is your life and you alone will own the consequences of the decisions you make.
Be grateful if you have true friends in your life!
- Appreciate what your friends do for you and with you!
- Show your gratitude!
- Nothing is better than a heartfelt “thank-you” for a true friend that has been there for you.
Also remember that friends constantly come and go in your life for many reasons, not just a separation. Your true friends will still be at your side long-term through the good times and the bad. These are the friends worth keeping!
Below are some other blogs on friendship that may be of interest:
If you are having trouble managing your separation or are worried about a friend, please contact me.
I do offer a strategy session so you can fully understand how my coaching works. Please call, or email, so we can discuss how you, or your friend, can benefit from coaching.
The Separation Project Coach!
Your Divorce Coach in Dundas!
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