The 3 "Friends" You
Meet After Divorce
By Derick Turner
It’s awkward being the friend of someone going through a divorce. You’re not sure what to say, or if you should say anything at all.
I remember years ago when some close friends of mine were divorcing. I felt unsure of how to be supportive, who to support, and how much support they even wanted.
As I went through my own divorce I began to realize the complexity of such an effort.
I wanted support, but I also didn’t want to hear the wrong thing from people. Even though I know they meant well, I was still vulnerable to the sting of a careless word or over exuberant recommendation.
I recognized after my divorce that among the many people you meet, you tend to encounter a few specific characters who bring their own level of well-intentioned, but oft misplaced input.
These characters will bring their own ideas about what you should or should not do. They will be forceful in making their point.
They likely do it thinking they are protective of you, even helping ease your mind with their intellect or expertise. The truth is, however, that it is rarely received that way.
Allow me to introduce you to 3 specific “friends” you will meet after a divorce.
The Therapist Friend
This character wants to hear all about your divorce. They want the gritty details so they can fully understand. They ‘care about you’ and want to help you, whether you want it or not.
After hearing the specifics, they are going to tell you how to get over it and move on. They are going to give you tips and tricks. That’s the perceived role of all the new Therapist Friends in your life.
Some will take the positive approach, leading with questions meant to build you up and make you feel good about who you are. They will tell you quotes and scriptures with the intention of encouraging you.
While you may appreciate it, you will likely grow tired of it. Especially because few of them have actually been through divorce themselves.
Then there are the “Negative Nancy” Therapist Friends. Posing as uplifters, these Therapist Friends will dissect how this is meant to make you stronger, and you should be grateful for the “blessing” you’ve received.
They will point out all the statistics meant to validate their position. They will share stories of others they’ve known who are so much happier and better off now.
Regardless of their intentions, you will quickly see that none of it really matters to you. You know your story is unique and different, and even if it isn’t, it’s still different to you. In the end their words, although meant to be impactful and encouraging, will ring hollow.
Remember, the Therapist Friend means to do good. They intend to help you. Whether they take the positive or negative position, they all mean well.
Unfortunately, it will bring little relief. That’s ok.
Smile, patiently listen, then let their words slip from your mind and move on.
Unless this friend insists and persists, let the moment pass and accept the intention of their actions.
The truth is, you may very well benefit from a real therapist. Talking to someone is good, just make sure it’s someone with the training and experience to provide actual help. Don’t be afraid to seek a real therapist out.
The Attorney Friend
“You don’t owe her a damn thing!”
“Like she can really do that to you!”
Comments such as these may become all too familiar from your new Attorney Friends.
You will soon find that you have more than one friend ready to share how they “know someone who got out of paying because of (insert erroneous fact) and the state could’t do anything about it.”
Sure, we all now people who have gone through a divorce. We may have even heard stories that would suggest advantageous ways to “win” a divorce. That does not mean we are qualified to offer legal advice.
Nonetheless, you will find your Attorney Friends anxious to share their secrets. It’s possible they have personal knowledge of ways to maneuver though a divorce more successfully, but then again, maybe they don’t. How are you supposed to know?
There’s a reason attorneys go to years of school, pass extensive exams, and practice specialized areas of law. There’s a whole heck of a lot of information a professional attorney needs to know.
As with the Therapist Friend, Attorney Friends are generally going to be people that mean well and care about you. Then again, we all know that guy who is more than happy to interject his opinion whether or not it’s wanted.
The Attorney Friend is commonly that person who always has something to say, and believes himself to always be right.
Even if your newly self-appointed Attorney Friends is an acquaintances or near stranger, you will quickly recognize the type. Take what they say with a grain of salt and don’t allow yourself to get carried away with excitement.
Sure, we all hope to come out on top of a divorce. At the very least, we want what’s fair.
To accomplish that, we need to trust the professionals who have been there in those trenches long enough to know the lay of the land and how to successfully maneuver through it.
The most important thing for you to remember is this, while there may be a lot of truth out there, you need to find the information that is best for you and your specific scenario.
No two cases are really alike, but finding a professional who can pull details from their actual experience, coupled with a working knowledge of the laws governing your state, will certainly help make finding a successful resolution to your case much easier.
We all hope your divorce ends amicably. Don’t be swayed by the feel-good stories though. Following the gusts of wind blown by the armchair Attorney Friend is a sure way to encounter difficulties and frustration.
Get a real attorney and let them do their thing.
The ‘Friend’ Friend
I can’t emphasize this enough. This one is really important, and the truth will probably surprise you.
You are going to find that many of the people you counted as friends before will no longer feel comfortable being in your life. This is hard to understand, but try to realize how difficult this time may be for them.
Like my example at the beginning of this article with my own friends, your friends very likely don’t know what to do. They may freeze, not wanting to do the wrong thing.
They may not want to pick a side, and they may not know the truth well enough to be able to do so.
If this happens to you, and sadly I will say it most likely will, please try to not be angry at them.
These friends may disappear for a time. Perhaps they will disappear indefinitely. It may just be that their time in your life has passed.
The most loyal of friends will stick around, but they too may feel uncomfortable and unsure, so they may also somewhat withdraw.
What you will likely find is that you are going to make new friends. Some will be a surprise, and some may become the most important people you will ever meet.
The prospect of new friends is exciting, especially in a time when you feel rejected, vulnerable, and hurt.
A word of caution however, not all “friends” are created equal. You’re going to see more clearly than ever that there are two types of ‘Friend’ friends out there.
Remember the adage “Misery loves company”?
Well, you’re about to see that come to life in stark clarity. You will have some miserable people who want to be your friend so you can meddle in the mud with them.
These people, magnets for misery, will see you as a fresh confidant to share their troubles with. Your fresh pile of messiness is just the type of muck they love to live in. These Miserable Friends still haven’t gotten past their own baggage, and they love knowing you are there to be co-dependently miserable with them.
Sure, it may feel cathartic venting to this Miserable Friend, but spilling your deepest emotions because of the rewarding response they give you will only drag you deeper down the pit of sorrow. Avoid this!
There are many more uplifting and encouraging ‘friend’ friends out there.
You are going to find that there are friends, perhaps even new friends, who genuinely wants to be there for you. These are your True Friends. For no other reason than to support and encourage you, they just want to see you be happier.
These True Friends are the best. They are not there to give you advice or tell you what you should do, they just want to be your friend.
Keep these friends close, and cherish them. It’s not easy being the friend of the divorcing person. A True Friend who loves you for you, believes in you, and wants only the best for you, is the kind of friend that will help you get through this.
It’s not always easy finding a True Friend, but you’ll know one when they come along.
Let someone be there for you
You’re going to find that while divorce can be painful and difficult, an awareness of who you allow into your life at this time will have a dramatic impact on how well and how quickly you get through it.
Friendship is an important thing. When you’re going through a divorce, a good friend can make all the difference.
You’re likely going to feel a desire to withdraw, shrink, hide away. This is natural when we feel embarrassed or ashamed. Fight this urge. Withdrawing will stunt your progress and extend your pain.
Be mindful of the people who come around, but be open to allowing the right people into your life.
As hard as it may feel, one of the best thing you can do during this difficult time is try being the kind of friend you would want to have. It will make recognizing the True Friends much more natural.
That means trying to forget yourself and think of others. It will take effort, but in doing this you will find your own troubles are more easily comforted.
You will get through this. You are still a good person, and you deserve to feel happy again. Allow yourself to be patient, but seeking out the right friends will help make it feel easier.
Question: How have True Friends helped you through your divorce? Leave a comment below.