According to science, tricking yourself into thinking you’re over a breakup is the key to getting over it. Which could require a little help from your friends, bringing us to one of the most difficult aspects of navigating your life after a breakup: How can you deal with a breakup by leaning on your friends to get through it, without leaning on them so much that you start pushing them away?
Below, Dr. Niloo Dardashti, a psychologist and relationship expert in New York City, shares how you can ask your friends for help.
1. Carefully choose who you vent to.
Before sharing every last gory detail of your breakup with anyone who will listen, Dr. Dardashti urges you to ask yourself, “What kind of friend is this? Are you just having verbal diarrhea with anyone in your life because you’re going through something, and you’re very self absorbed in the moment and not aware of how much you’re pulling from someone?”
When venting about your breakup, it’s important to be selective about the listeners you choose. She advises saving the nitty-gritty details for only your closest friends.
2. Be aware of how much you’re talking about it.
“Have some self-awareness about it,” Dr. Dardashti suggests. “Are you talking about this every single day now for more than a month?” If the answer to that question is yes, she explains that “it’s really worthwhile to go back and search to see if there are other things you can talk to your friends about.”
3. Make sure your friends know you appreciate their support.
You can do this by telling them directly, but Dr. Dardashti stresses the importance of showing them how much you care. “Like not forgetting that, even though you have this thing going on, they’re also people with things going on in their lives, and you want to make sure that you’re still asking about them, being there for them, and genuinely interested in them,” she explains. “It’s not just about showing appreciation, it’s about really genuinely caring.”
Again, it’s important to utilize your self-awareness skills. “If you tap into your self-awareness, do you find yourself not asking them about their day? Do you find yourself not checking in with them about how they’re doing?”
4. Ask for feedback.
“It’s always really helpful, if you can handle it, to ask for feedback. Ask your friends, ‘Do you feel like this is overkill?’ Hopefully you have a relationship with your friends where you can actually be honest with each other.”
It’s important to ask, she says, because “you may be unsure if your friend thinks you’re being too much. Are you being annoying? Is it overkill, or are you being too critical of yourself?”
5. If your friends tell you it’s too much for them, know that therapy is also an option.
“If you and your friends feel like you’re sort of going around in circles with them, and it’s all you talk about and it’s getting a little bit annoying, maybe you consider talking to a therapist,” suggests Dr. Dardashti. Then when you meet with a therapist, she urges you to delve into “whether you have a pattern of having the same sort of thing happen with guys or girls so that a) you can try to avoid that from happening again, and b) you can have someone else to bounce things off of, rather than just your friends, who may not be as qualified to give you feedback or advice that could be helpful.”