The Five Worst Things to Say to Someone Who Just Went Through a Break-Up

Try to avoid saying these things to a heart-broken friend.Try to avoid saying these things to a heart-broken friend.By Chiara Atik for HowAboutWe

Julie Klausner gave some advice on her most recent podcast of what not to say to a friend going through a break-up: "Don't say now's the time to learn a new language." If, while going through a break-up, someone told me that while I may have just lost the love of my life, at least it affords me an opportunity to brush up on my Portuguese, I would kill them, and then myself.

When comforting friends after a break-up, people reach for platitudes because it's so hard to figure out what to say - trying to look on the bright side, or consoling them that it was no great loss, often seem like the best way to comfort. But often these well-meaning truisms only hurt or annoy the grieving friend, who, remember, is hearing these things from everybody.

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Below is a list of things to try to avoid saying to a heart-broken friend.

1. "I never liked him anyway."

It doesn't matter what you thought of their ex. It doesn't! Not right now. The point is, you friend did, and possibly still does. They don't want to hear about how you always thought she was sort of pretentious, or that he was always awkward at parties, or whatever else may have been secretly annoying you about their relationship. Respect their right to be hurting over someone you didn't necessarily love, and stay quiet about it - especially because there's always the chance that they'll get back together. If your friend starts venting about the recent ex, then fine - just don't join in too enthusiastically.

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2. "Ultimately, this is going to be a good thing for you."

This sentence might be 100% true, but you've got to let your friend figure it out by living it, rather than spouting it off to her while she's wrapped up in a blanket on the couch surrounded by tissues. There's a moment in most breakups where it really does seem like the most depressing, traumatic thing that's ever happened, and no amount of "No, but this will be good in the end!" is going to convince her or make her feel better.

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3. "You can do so much better."

No one wants to hear that their friends think they were dating beneath them. Besides, dating better or dating worse is not the point: the point is that your friend is no longer dating that person, and maybe they still wish they were. Again, let all venting about the ex come from them, not from you.

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4. "Now you can concentrate on your career."

At this point, most people know that it's extremely possible to have a great relationship and a great career, so pointing out to your friend that their break-up is an opportunity to work on career insinuates that it's an either/or situation. Maybe they want to concentrate on their career AND keep dating that person! Maybe they were ALREADY concentrating on their career, maybe their career is going great, and it's just the sudden lack of relationship that's sending them into a tailspin. The truth is, when your heart hurts, thinking about work may temporarily distract, but it won't actually make you feel better.

5. "What you need is a girls/boys night out!"

Ugh, no, what I need is to take a nap on my bathroom floor and listen to the Dixie Chicks for a few hours. Nights out are great, but that's later in the break-up recovery process: a person might have to go through a lot of wallowing before they're ready to hit the town again. Unless an insane/unhealthy amount of time has passed, let them be the one to suggest a night out to you once they're good and ready.

So what can you say? These gems are simple, to the point, and universally unoffensive.

1. I'm here whenever you want to talk.
2. Break ups are the worst thing in the world. The worst thing. I am so sorry you are going through this.
3. I know you want to be alone right now, so I'm sending you a care package of cool/distracting stuff and I'm on standby for whenever you want to hang out.