My good friend and room-mate was broken up with by her boyfriend last night. Over the phone. She is an unusually unemotional person, and being with this guy has really started to open her up. She guards her heart hardcore. Which is why… it's all the more painful to see her in pain.
I went to see her at work and then when we both got off at 5 this morning (ah, the life of an overnight worker) we came home and I just sat with her for over an hour while she cried. I made tea, poured alcohol, fetched her Advil. I tried to think of encouraging things (do you bash the ex? do you say he'll come around? [no] do you try to be super logical? do you try to distract? do you tell her to cry and get it all out?!). I think I did okay.
It's weird, though. I've never been in that situation, but I have been in emotionally difficult places. I have had my heart broken, and in the process of putting it back together I think I damaged it even more. I don't think it functions quite properly now, and that's rather messed me up (not to say I can never love or whatever, but I don't think I was all that stable to begin with etc etc). I don't want that to happen to my friend. But the odd thing is, even though all I could think about was heartache for YEARS, I haven't the faintest idea of how to treat it in other people. To what extent can an outsider aid such a thing? What kind of advice can I give when she tells me she still wants to talk to him, when all she wants is for him to like her again? I wasn't in that relationship. I don't know.
It's especially strange when it's happening to someone not of my own personal emotional leanings. When my best friend's heart was broken and torn to shreds by her then-boyfriend (who broke up with her, got back with her, and is marrying her this year-- life, you be crazy), I hated on him. I brought my friend to stay with me for some of the summer in California for some rehab. Over that very trip he realized he missed her, wanted her back, and even had a long conversation with me confessing all that he had done wrong that he now understood. That was different, somehow, because that friend is like a part of me, and I had this crazy sense of how things were going to play out. This is different. Sometimes I just expect the right words to come out of my mouth, and then I realize, I really think too much of myself in this area. I give myself too much credit for recognizing things in people. Just because I am attentive doesn't mean I am omnipresent. I can't see it all.
Sometimes it's okay to not know what to say, isn't it?