When someone you love and care about is heartbroken, it’s natural to want to comfort them. However, things you say with good intentions can easily backfire. You’ll mean no harm, but it can seem dismissive, cruel, aggressive, and even uncaring.
Remember, a person in this state is fragile, so you must tread lightly. You may even need to research the best ways to give a pep talk before you give the pep talk. Here are 15 things you should never say to a heartbroken person.
1. “Just forget all about him/her. They weren’t worth your time anyway.”
This statement can come off as dismissive of their feelings. If they could simply forget all about the person, they would do it. After all, no one wants to sit around and be miserable.
Another thing to note is that by telling them that the person wasn’t worth their time, it almost sounds as if you’re telling them they are bad decision-makers. It could make them feel like they can’t make responsible decisions. That can make them feel even worse.
2. “At least you’ve learned a lesson.”
Although you don’t mean anything by this comment to a heartbroken person, it can sound smug. They may take it as you are saying that they deserved what happened to them, or even that they brought the heartbreak on themselves. It’s almost like you’re saying, “I told you so.”
Before making this comment, you should wait until the person heals. This process could take a while, so be patient and supportive. Timing is everything, and they’ll realize that you’re just trying to be a good friend.
Note: For this article, a friend can also mean family members, loved ones, or anyone you’re trying to cheer up.
3. “This will make a good book one day!”
Even if you’re joking, you should avoid saying this to a heartbroken person. The idea of putting their heart break out for the whole world to know about could be like a second round of heartbreak. In fact, the thought of everyone knowing could make them feel foolish.
Of course, you’re not planning to push your friend into writing an autobiography. You’d probably say it sarcastically and even give a little laugh behind it. Unfortunately, your friend won’t be laughing.
4. “Just get back out there and date someone else.”
Your intention is probably to help your friend realize that they’re a great person that plenty of people would love to date them. However, there is a good chance that your friend won’t take it that way. To your friend, this statement sounds dismissive of their feelings.
It may make them think that something is wrong with them for not being able to just “get over it”. The last thing you want to do is make them feel like they are the problem.
5. “Let’s throw a party to take your mind off of that loser.”
Your friend feels like crap right now. They’re sad and probably fatigued. The last thing they want to do is use their last bit of energy to throw on a party dress and makeup.
Your friend especially doesn’t want to be around a bunch of happy people or possibly drunk people who won’t be compassionate to their problem. Sometimes a little peace, quiet, and their best friend’s support are needed.
6. “My breakup was the same, but I got over it quickly. You will too.”
Everyone’s pain is unique. While you may think that you’re empathizing with your friend, in truth, you’re sympathizing with your friend. This distinction means that you understand how they’re feeling, but you don’t share their feelings. Your friend may not believe they’ll get over it quickly. They may miss their former partner. They may even still be in love. Suggesting that they get over it soon because you did is a mistake.
7. “I never liked them anyway.”
You make a big mistake if you mutter this to a heartbroken friend. They’re already handling a lot of emotions, and saying this to them can strengthen their feelings of self-doubt. They’ll wonder why you could see how terrible their ex was, but they couldn’t see it?
If they happen to still be in love with their ex, a statement like this, one can make them feel even more confused. The best thing you can do is to avoid comments criticizing their former partner. Keep the conversation on your friend and your friend’s feelings.
8. “This is the best thing that could have happened!”
For your friend, it sure doesn’t feel like the best thing that could have happened. In fact, there is a good chance that it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to them. Remember that your friend feels bad, not good. Don’t suggest that something that makes them feel this way was the best thing for them.
You should also remember that your friend deeply cared for their former partner. By claiming that the best thing that could have happened was a breakup, you’re invalidating their feelings and their relationship.
9. “You’ll get back together.”
Even if you may think this is true, it’s a bad idea to say this to a heartbroken friend. One of two things can happen, and neither is good. The first thing that can happen is that they’ll think you don’t care about the reason they broke up in the first place. That translates to you not caring about their feelings in their eyes.
The second thing that could happen is that you could give your friend false hope. This thinking is especially true if your friend wasn’t the one who wanted the breakup. It can be cruel to give your friend false hope over a relationship that’s over.
10. “Just cheer up.”
If you want to be insensitive, this is the perfect statement for that. Telling your friend just to cheer up makes it seem as if they’re feelings are ridiculous – like they should just turn off the pain and sadness like it’s a faucet.
No one can turn off pain like that unless they’re suppressing it. That leads to other problems, even physical stress. Allow your friend to express their emotions freely to you for as long as they need to heal completely.
11. “I’m surprised at how well you are handling this.”
No matter how you say this, it comes off as an insult, especially when someone is feeling very emotional. This statement sounds like you expected your friend to be weak. Maybe you had no faith that they could get through this, and you expected them to crumble.
That’s not what you meant when you made the statement, but your friend could take it that way. Try using more supportive phrases like, “you are so strong for making it through this.” You could also wait until your friend is in a more stable mood to bring up how they’re handling it.
12. “You can use this time to focus on yourself.”
You shouldn’t push your friend to focus on anything they aren’t ready to focus on. You may think that redirecting their emotions will help them – and this is true to a certain extent. However, they must be ready to focus on something else without you pushing them. It needs to be their choice.
Of course, you don’t want to watch them focus on their pain because you care about your friend. Use this time to be supportive without being pushy.
13. “You’re more fun when you’re single.”
While this might be a simple compliment, it’s one that can easily backfire. By saying this, you’re implying that your friend was not fun when they were in a relationship. They may even take it as you suggesting that they were a bad friend.
It’s okay to talk about the fun things you can do together now that your friend is single, but timing is everything. You need to wait until your friend heals from their heartbreak. They need to be completely ready for the single life before diving headfirst into it.
14. “Everything happens for a reason.”
This statement isn’t harmful. However, it’s not something that people want to hear at their lowest point. They’re hurting, it sucks, and they don’t care what the reason is. At this moment, they can’t see past their pain.
In fact, this statement might make your friend angry. What reason could make this amount of heartache acceptable? Your friend isn’t at a point of being reasonable, so there is no need to bring up that idea until they’re feeling better. It could take a while, so be patient.
15. “It could be worse.”
Life could always be worse. Everyone knows this, but there is a time and place for everything. When your friend is heartbroken and dealing with a well of emotions, they may not be handling them well. So don’t remind them that they could feel worse. That’s the last thing they need to hear.
Instead, talk about positive things that can happen, but don’t say that they can happen because their relationship ended. Generalize what you’re saying and be gentle about it.
Finding the right thing to say to someone heartbroken can be challenging. You want to comfort them, but because their emotions are running high, there is a possibility for a lot of statements to be misconstrued. Be sure to avoid the 15 comments above. Be supportive, kind, and when your friend is ready, they’ll let go of their pain.