your friend tells you she is leaving her husband -- what do you say?

Readers Advice:

  • This depends on the situation - ie was her husband cheating on her or abusing her or is she cheating on him? Generally I would say that regardless of why they split I am sorry for the relationship to be ending. What kind of support does she need from me - advice on getting a marriage counselor, babysitting, a good lawyer, support groups. I find in these situations you just have to make sure your friend knows that you are going to provide emotional support.
  • depends who does the separating?????? If the friend left a no goodnik..I would tell her mazel tov. If it was visa versa..... I would say....what a bummer...... let me know what I can do
  • You let her talk. People in these circumstances just want to know that someone is listening. What you don't say is that you know how she is feeling, because even if you have been through something like this, you don't know how she is feeling.
  • I'm so sorry to hear about your separation. I'm sure that this is not how you had envisioned your marriage.

In the October 2008 edition of Homemakers Magazine, Blair Lancaster, the executive director of Breast Cancer Support Services in Burlington, Ontario offered this advice on what to say to a friend with breast cancer:

  • Listen: do not interrupt when she is telling you her story; let her cry if she needs to; give her a hug.
  • There really is not much to say except that you are sorry this has happened to her. Tell her as well, that you are there to help support her through it.
  • Don’t say, “what can I do to help?” Instead, offer something tangible such as, “I’m going to come over and do your laundry.” Or, “I’m available to babysit or drive the kids to school.”
  • Don’t say, “I have read about this great cancer treatment and think you should try it.”
  • Be open and realistic about what you can and can’t do.
  • Never underestimate the effect of random encouraging cards.