It is the summer of break ups for celebrities, huh? Gwen and Gavin. Ben and Jen. Will and Jada. And then not Will and Jada. There’s been a lot of talk of big celebrity couples ending their relationships this summer. Some of it gossip. Some of it legit. Of course the internet has exploded with information and opinions about these splits. There’s some really despicable coverage of this stuff and total privacy invasions. News like this is always hot topics for those in the public eye, but it got me thinking about how people who aren’t in the spotlight also have to deal with breakup rumors and gossip. So, I thought I’d share some ideas on how to talk about a breakup in your friend group the right way.
Check in with your friend
The first thing you have to do is check in with your friend. In the throws of the break up, your friend probably doesn’t want to think about how to handle PR for the split. So, pick your timing well and give your buddy space to grieve before talking about what to say to your other friends. When the time is right, ask what info your friend wants shared and with whom. Not everyone needs to know everything, obviously.
Share info as needed
You need to gauge when the right time to tell people is and who actually needs the news. If this is your best childhood friend, does everyone from your 13-year-old bunk at summer camp need to know that your pal is going through a divorce? I don’t think so. But, how awful would it be to sit next to an empty chair that’s reserved for your ex at a wedding you RSVPed to months ago? Rough! Let the bride know ASAP in that case so your friend isn’t stuck in seating chart hell. Think about who needs to know and how spreading this info could actually help your friend.
I know it’s tempting to jump in with your opinion when you’re the storyteller. “I always liked him, but…” “From the minute I met him, I knew he was a cheater.” “I think she can do better than that schmuck.” Those are all totally normal things to say about a break up, but also the wrong things! This isn’t your story, so keep yourself out of it. Tell her version with no extra color or flair.
You can’t control what other people say, but you can shame them about it. If other people start getting into gossip, rumors and opinions about the break up, say something about how you’d rather not get into it. You just wanted them to know the info your friend asked you to share, but talking about it any further without your friend around makes you feel uncomfortable. Trust me, they’ll shut up. It doesn’t feel good to act like a narc, but it would feel way worse if your friend thought you were gossiping about her, right?
Personally, I can’t wait for this Ben and Jen gossip to go away. I love both of them individually and just want them to be happy. I bet that’s pretty hard when your face is all over the tabloids! So, let’s stop gossiping about them and all other break ups!