Support Systems: When a Friend is Jilted at the Altar

My best friend in the whole wide world was planning a wedding. The man she was supposed to marry broke off the engagement. At first she almost had a nervous breakdown, but after seeking counseling, she started doing a little better. However, she is still having a very difficult time. I've tried to help her and she says I make her feel better, but I feel that I should do more for her. What can I do? --cmelena

Question:

Dear Cmelena:

Just be there to boost her spirits. You needn't go overboard. She is legitimately traumatized and will have to go through her own grieving process. It's good that she went for counseling; she may need to go back.

Friends can and should support her, of course, but not by trashing the creep who jilted her at the altar. All that does is reinforce her bad judgement (for choosing him), which in turn takes a terrible toll on her self-esteem.

Don't overload her calendar. She needs time for quiet. But do plan things that are amusing and stimulating -- not just sitting around in a pity party, if you know what I mean. And take every single opportunity to point out her good points, to boost her self-esteem. The last thing she needs right now is more drama. Quiet strength is the medicine she can use.

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