Patti's Blog

How To React To a Friend Breaking Up With a Toxic Guy

5152812298_7fa12e83b4_nI’m sure you’ve heard by now that Charlize Theron and Sean Penn broke up. The entire internet seems to be relieved, acting like Charlize breaking off the engagement saved her from a lifetime of misery with Penn. Honestly, I never had much of an opinion on this couple. I 100% see why there were a good match for well over a year—talent, lifestyle, drive, etc. But, the general public reaction to their split got me thinking about how you should react when your friend ends a relationship that you hated. It can be a really sticky situation, but I’m here to help!


We’ve all been through breakups and we know what they’re like. Your head gets consumed with thinking about the former relationship and dissecting every little detail of the breakup process. It’s a masochistic obsession that does no one any good, but I’m pretty sure it’s what happens with every single breakup. As a friend, the best thing you can do is listen. Just be there for her when she needs to verbal diarrhea about small little details, vent about the things she never liked about him and cry about what she’s going to miss. Be there with your ears open. It’s the best thing a friend can do post-breakup.

Check in

Breakup pain is a lot like mourning a death. There are stages of grief a person goes through and the emotional pain can take a while to fully roll out. So, even if you think your pal is a few weeks out and through the worst of it, ask her how she’s doing in terms of the breakup and if there’s any way you can help. The breakup may seem like it was 100 years ago to you, but if your girlfriend has just entered a new phase of healing, it could feel like it’s starting all over again to her. She could need you the most when you think it’s over. So, ask often and check in weeks and months after the initial blow.

Keep it in

I know, I know, I know. He sucked and she’s a bazillion times better without him. You think if you tell her that, it’s going to make her feel better and help her get over the dud of a dude faster. Well, you’re wrong. Giving her an “I told you so” type of reaction to the breakup is just going to make her feel even crappier. So, keep your opinions to yourself and focus on listening and agreeing with her about how upsetting this whole thing is. Even if she goes off on a rant about what a loser he is, that’s not your cue to start a rant of your own. Keep your opinions to yourself and focus that energy on helping your friend feel better about the future, not crummier about the past.

I wish nothing but luck in love to Charlize and Sean…and your brokenhearted buddy, too!