How to deal with well-meaning friends
How to deal with well-meaning friends during separation
Separation and divorce are obviously hardest on those involved, but it impacts your friends and family too. It’s common for people to not know what they should do or say to help, and sometimes this can unintentionally make the separation process more emotional and stressful than it already is. Here are a few tips for dealing with well-meaning friends during separation.
1. Encourage them not to “choose sides”
Sometimes, friends feel the need to take sides during a separation. This can be because they think it will make you feel better, but also because it is easier than “being in the middle”. You can remind your friends that you want to keep your separation amicable and conversations positive and that you don’t want them to take sides. You can also remind them that you want what is best for your partner too. Dialling down the emotional temperature and making conversations about your separation less confrontational can make the whole process easier for everyone.
2. Share only what you want to
In trying to help, friends can unintentionally pry for details about the causes of separation, what is going on now and what may happen next. Remember that you don’t have to share details about your relationship any more than they have to share information about their personal life with you. What you choose to share with friends is completely up to you.
3. Remind them it’s not about them
People often make situations about themselves, even without meaning to, so a well-meaning friend may start giving advice that reflects their experiences or how they would feel or behave if they were in your shoes. Thank them for their support, but it’s also ok to remind them that your situation is unique to you and you need to deal with it in your own way.
4. Give them practical suggestions for how they can help
While it can feel good to vent, a coffee or a walk with a friend can be just as good. Looking for activities you can do with friends, rather than just sitting and talking can be a good idea to help you have conversations about things other than your separation. Similarly, if you need help with anything, such as cooking, day to day errands or picking up the kids, let your friends know. They may be delighted to have practical ways they can help you during this difficult time.
5. Speak with your partner about how you will manage shared friends
It can be hard for friendship groups involving couples to know how to stay friends with both of you. They may welcome some input, so speak to your partner about how you both want to manage this and consider communicating directly with shared friends, if and when you are up to it.
amica is a smart and simple online tool to guide separating couples through parenting, property and money decisions in an amicable way. It was designed by family lawyers to help guide separating couples through the process in an accurate, calm and fair way. It uses artificial intelligence which takes into account the length of the relationship, assets and earnings, age and health needs, contributions to the relationship, arrangements for taking care of children and future needs. It makes practical suggestions for parenting arrangements that suit your family situation. At the end of the process you can download a document that sets out what you’ve agreed.
Go to amica.gov.au