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Here are some do's and don'ts to keep in mind when helping a friend through a breakup:
5 Things You Can Do
Listen, listen listen - For the next little while, your problems don't exist. Your job is to be an ear for your friend and let him or her vent.
Be available - Clear your schedule wherever possible for the first month or so post-breakup. Your friend will rely on you for long phone calls, movie nights, coffee dates and whatever else they need to get over the breakup.
Be the voice of reason - If your friend calls you at midnight with plans to send a ranting email, or take a crowbar to the ex's windshield, it's your job to talk them out of it.
Provide a swift kick where it's most needed - Be sensitive, but don't let your friend to wallow in his or her darkened apartment for too long. Encourage them to get out of the house to do new things and meet new people.
Turn on your inner cruise director - Plan outings that will help take your friend's mind off the breakup and get them out of the house. Anything from a shopping trip and lunch to a weekend away can help.
5 Things You Can't Do
Don't bash the ex - Your friend needs to vent, but joining him or her in the ex bashing will only prolong it. Be there to listen, but don't join in.
Don't rush your friend through mourning - Phrases such as "You need to move on" or "You need to get out there" mean nothing in the first weeks following a bad breakup. Give your friend time to grieve and be sensitive to the fact that it may be months before they want to even consider dating.
Don't give specific advice - Leave the dating advice to Dr. Love. Your job as a friend is to listen and not dole out dating tips. Though you may mean well, what works for you may not work for your friend.
Don't encourage too many wild nights out - A few nights out at the bar post-breakup are fine, but be careful that you're not encouraging your friend to drown his or her sorrows at the bar or in one-night stands. This can lead to major problems down the road.
If you're happy, keep it to yourself - If you are in a solid relationship, refrain from discussing it in great length, or worse, using it as an example for your friend. Shoving your happy love life in his or her face would be like rubbing salt in the wound.
Ask any relationship expert and they'll tell you that after a breakup, one of the most important things to make sure you have plenty of is space. But what do you do when your ex is still around and it's beyond your control? It's not uncommon. Recent studies have shown that more than 10 million couples work together. A survey by American Greetings found that more couples meet through friends than via any other avenue. Work and social obligations may force you to maintain contact with your ex - even when it's the last thing on Earth you want to do - but there are classy ways to handle the inevitable run-ins, from both sides of the table. Here are 6 tips for handling yourself with style, maturity, and grace - whether you're the heartbreaker or the heartbroken:
As The Instigator:
1. Give your ex space - If you are determined to go through with this breakup, the last thing you want to do is give your ex hope that there is a chance for a reconciliation. Give your former flame as much space as possible and avoid contact unless work or social obligations demand it. It may be difficult, but in the long run, this space will help your ex start to get over the relationship.
2. Expect things to get nasty, but don't react - It's the lucky couple who can navigate a breakup and remain friends. More often than not, there is name-calling, nasty emails and other assorted break-up byproducts to contend with. If your ex is hurt and decides to get nasty in public, keep your composure and avoid retaliating in kind. Getting in a few parting shots will only hurt your relationships with mutual friends or your credibility in the work place.
3. Be tactful down the road - It may be weeks, or it may be months, but sooner or later you will meet someone new and start dating again. Be tactful when bringing your new flame around your ex, as it will likely be painful for him or her no matter how long it's been since your break-up. Keep the public displays of affection and cute nicknames to a minimum.
As The Dumped:
4. Keep family and friends out of it - This is Rule No. 1 in these types of situations. If you force mutual friends, co-workers or family members to take sides in your split, it will make them feel uncomfortable and could even cost you the relationships you value. Crying on a shoulder or two is fine, but don't take every opportunity available to bemoan the situation. And while you may need to avoid your ex for the time being, don't force friends or co-workers to do the same.
5. Don't force the issue with your ex - One of the toughest things about being on the business end of a break up is figuring out what went wrong. But social events and the workplace are not appropriate places to confront your former partner about your relationship. If your ex is no longer willing to discuss the issue privately, take it as a sign that you also need to start the process of moving on.
6. Take the high road - You may not like your ex right now, but that is no reason to let the situation affect the rest of your life. Be cordial to your ex when out with friends, and strive to maintain a good working relationship if he or she is a co-worker. Staying positive is an important step on the road to breakup recovery.