For advice on how to best help a loved one cope with a painful breakup or divorce, we turned to Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, star of Bravo's hit TV series "Real Housewives of New York City" and author of the etiquette book, "Class with The Countess: How To Live with Elegance and Style."
de Lesseps: My feeling is that if your friend announces the split on Facebook, it is okay to reach out to her and find out if she needs anything. If you hear about the break up through the gossip mill, you can still call your friend and ask if it is true and then tell her you are there for her. We are talking about someone you love, so getting involved early on is appropriate.
de Lesseps: When someone you love is going through a break up, being a good listener is one of the best gifts you can give during this difficult time. You can say things like, "When one door closes, another one always opens," or "This seems terrible now, but in the future you will look back and be grateful you've moved on."
It is inappropriate to bash your friend's former lover since you never know if they'll get back together and everything you've said will be held against you. Another no-no is telling your friend to start dating immediately as a cure for the pain. It is important to deal with your feelings before getting another person involved in your life.
de Lesseps: Until you know for sure that this relationship is permanently over, I suggest keeping any thoughts about the ex and the relationship to yourself. It is perfectly okay to listen to your friend's thoughts on why this relationship failed.
de Lesseps: If you see a pattern in your loved one's failed relationships, it is okay after the initial shock wears off to point out that dating people who are emotionally unavailable, married, addicted, etc., is not a good idea and that maybe they should try to meet someone healthy and ready for a relationship.
de Lesseps: The best thing to do with a friend going through a break up is to keep them busy with social activities. It's hard to be sad when you are on the dance floor with your best friends!
It is inappropriate to start setting your friend up on blind dates right after a painful split. Let them recover surrounded by best friends who love them.
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