When A Mom Breaks Up With Her Friend, Here’s What To Say
It's hard to find new friends as an adult, and especially as a new parent. I can make mom-talk with any caregiver, sure, but that doesn't make them a mom friend. Which is why breaking up with a mom friend is so heartbreaking; you finally found a person you connect with and bam. It's over. Watching this special kind of relationship dissolve from the sidelines isn't easy, either, and it can be extremely difficult to know what to say to someone in this situation.
Of course, what to say to a loved one recovering from this specific kind of relationship loss will vary depending on individual situations. If a former mom friend robbed their house before stealing their identity and running off to Argentina, that's going to be very different from, say, slowly realizing the relationship wasn't healthy and needed to end (the latter being the more common narrative in a mom-friendship gone south, of course). Barring the most dramatic of circumstances, it's generally best not to try to make the other person feel better by initiating negative talk of the former friend. You never know what might happen to the relationship down the road and you don't know when your words will come back to haunt you, this may only serve to make your friend feel worse, and negativity, in general, is best avoided when possible.
So if we're not going to talk about how this other mom was the nastiest skank b*tch you have ever met and mark her down as a fugly slut in your own personal Burn Book, how are we going to handle this? Honestly, in many of the same ways you'd help a friend through a romantic break-up. The name of the game isn't "told you so" or "I never liked them" or even necessarily "you're better off." It's all about empathy and giving them space to tell you how they feel.
"I'm So Sorry"
Because whether or not it was a wise move to end the friendship, or whether or not you're ultimately sorry to see things end, this is a nice way to show that you have empathy for the fact that even things that are for the best can be painful. Maybe you're not sorry your friend said goodbye to someone who wasn't good for them, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be sorry that your friend is hurting.
"It's OK To Mourn"
It's totally normal to feel conflicted about ending any relationship, because very few relationships are all bad all the time. And even if, by the end, it was rarely good, it's typical to miss the ghost of those good times. It's important for your friend to know that losing a friendship can, frankly, sometimes feel like losing the person themselves, so having a sort of "mini-mourning" is natural.
"You Can Grow From This"
Because it's not just the fun things and nurturing people who shape us for the better; it can be the bad things as well. And, hopefully, those bad experiences will be few and far between. Yes, we should strive for a life where we only learn through positivity, but, well, you know what they say about lemons and lemonade.
"Some Characters Don't Make It To The End"
Think about all the "characters" you've met in your life. Many of them — childhood friends, former co-workers you used to see every day, even college girlfriends/boyfriends you never thought you could be happy without — were important to you at one point, perhaps you even thought of them as the most important person in your orbit. But they played their part in the story of your life and now your life goes on. They have come and gone and you've grown and changed.
Now, hopefully your life won't be like Game of Thrones, where basically no one makes it to the profoundly disappointing end, but some people are only going to guest star for a season.
"This Person Was Not Your Last New Friend"
This is the flip-side of the "not everyone sticks around" coin: you may not have met one of your best friends yet. Some characters don't show up until way later on. Now, does this diminish the pain of losing this one particular person? Of course not. But many moms will often put a lot more importance on a mom friend than, perhaps, is warranted. It makes sense, because it was so hard to find another parent I could connect with that it can feel impossible that another connection, or even a better connection, is on the horizon.
But trust me, it is.
"You Made A Hard Decision That Was Right For You"
Acknowledging and praising your friend's proactivity, while simultaneously highlighting the toll that may have taken on her, is always a good move. It feels good to be seen, especially when not feeling seen may lead you to second guess yourself.
"Relationships Should Nurture You More Than They Deplete You"
This is a great way to remind your friend that, while friendships require effort, their primary function in our lives should still be joy. So something like, "It seems like this friendship was making you unhappy more than it was nourishing you" is, I think, an appropriate thing to say to let the person know that their decision to end a friendship was valid.
Sometimes, really, that's all there is to it and it's nice to hear someone simply admit that instead of trying to make it better or sugarcoat the situation. Silver linings are great, but sometimes it's good to acknowledge the cloud.
"You're Going To Be OK, But It's OK If You Don't Feel OK Right Now"
And here's where the silver lining is useful! As long as you're acknowledging a friend's pain, helping them see a path to a happy future is appropriate and kind. Let them know you believe in their strength and resilience and the fact, perhaps, that the two of you have some shenanigans in store that she should look forward to.
"I'm Here For You"
It's very important to mean this when you say it, but, seriously, your friend is going through a thing. Be there for her.