18 Things You Should Never Say To Someone Who Just Got Dumped

18 Things You Should Never Say To Someone Who Just Got Dumped

Breakups are brutal. Even if you saw the writing on the wall, the finality of it can leave your friend emotionally shattered. As much as you want to offer a shoulder to cry on and words of encouragement, sometimes well-meaning advice can land with a thud (or worse, an epic eye-roll). Navigating the emotional rollercoaster of heartbreak requires a delicate touch. Here’s what to avoid saying, and how to truly be there for your friend during this difficult time.

1. “There are plenty of fish in the sea.”

They don’t want a new fish. They want the one that just swam away (even if that fish was kind of a jerk). This minimizes their pain and makes it sound like their ex is easily replaceable. They might be holding on to some hope, however unrealistic, and this platitude just crushes it further. While Psychology Today admits that rebound relationships aren’t necessarily the worst idea in the world, when the pain is so fresh, you’re better off avoiding the suggestion.

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2. “Everything happens for a reason.”

In the depths of their heartbreak, the universe’s grand plan is the last thing they care about. This dating cliché feels dismissive of their very real, in-the-moment pain. Focusing on some vague future where they’ll understand why this hurts so much isn’t helpful when the pain is so raw and present.

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3. “It’s for the best.”

Maybe eventually…but right now, it just feels like crap. They may need time to mourn the relationship before they can see any potential silver lining. Prematurely trying to shove optimism down their throat just feels like you’re not acknowledging how much they’re hurting.

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4. “At least you weren’t married/didn’t have kids/etc.”

Senior mother consoling her daughter at home

Trying to make them feel grateful by comparing their pain to hypothetical worse situations is not helpful. Pain isn’t a competition, and their heartbreak is valid on its own. As Forbes suggests, let them be sad about the loss of this relationship, without forcing them to be thankful it wasn’t even harder.

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5. “You’re better off without them.”

mom with two adult sons

Even if this is true, they might not be ready to hear it yet. When freshly dumped, they might still idealize their ex, focusing on the good and ignoring the reasons it didn’t work. While they’ll probably reach this conclusion themselves eventually, telling them this too soon risks feeling like you don’t understand their attachment.

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6. “You need to just get over it and move on.”

female friends chatting on a park bench

Grief takes time. Telling them to just “snap out of it” is invalidating and makes them feel like their feelings are a burden, which can lead to isolating themselves when they need support. Let them go through the stages of grief—even the messy, inconvenient ones—without judgment.

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7. “My breakup was way worse…”

Mother caring for her adult son, putting hand on his shoulder, comforting and consoling him. Family love, bonding, care and confidence

Don’t turn it into a misery contest. Making their pain about you is unhelpful. Their hurt is real, even if someone else has “had it worse” by some arbitrary measure. It’s okay to share your own past heartbreak, but only to empathize, not to one-up their experience.

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8. “Now you have more free time!”

They might be filled with a mix of sadness, anger, and loneliness – not excitement about new hobbies. While regaining a sense of self is part of moving on, focusing on this right now feels tone-deaf. Let them decide what they do with their newfound time, even if it starts with just binge-watching sad movies.

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9. “You’ll find someone new soon enough.”

The idea of replacing their ex is probably the last thing they want to think about. Rushing them towards healing makes it harder to process the pain of the present. Instead of focusing on the future, validate that it’s okay to feel devastated about this one specific person.

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10. “Don’t you want to be happy again?”

Of course they do, but guilt-tripping them about it doesn’t help. Sadness is a normal part of the grieving process, Verywell Mind reminds us, not a character flaw they need to fix immediately. Allowing themselves to feel the pain without judgment is part of what ultimately leads to true happiness down the road.

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11. “I knew they were bad news anyway.”

Bad-mouthing the ex can backfire. Your friend may jump to the ex’s defense or feel embarrassed that they were in a “bad” relationship. Sometimes, people need time to realize this on their own. They might come to that conclusion eventually, but dissing the ex prematurely can make them feel like you’re judging their past choices.

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12. “Just go out and have some fun!”

They might not be up for partying right now. It’s okay to let them wallow a bit before they’re ready to re-enter the world. Encouraging them to numb their pain rather than process it isn’t a long-term solution – it’s better to be a supportive presence, even if that means a cozy night in over a wild night out.

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13. “At least you didn’t waste [X] years with them.”

Whether it was a few months or a decade, it hurts to lose a relationship you invested in. Minimizing the time spent doesn’t minimize the emotional impact of the loss. It’s more meaningful to acknowledge their sense of loss than to try and put a time limit on their right to grieve.

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14. “I never really liked them anyway.”

woman telling boyfriend offiStock

Okay, maybe you didn’t, but now’s not the time. It feels unsupportive to kick their ex while they’re already down. Better to focus on being there for your friend than bashing their former partner. You can spill the tea on why you always had a bad feeling once they’ve had some time to process the breakup.

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15. “Have you tried [random dating app]?”

No, just… no. Let them at least change out of their breakup sweatpants before setting up a new profile. Rushing to replace their ex will probably do more harm than good. They need time to heal their heart, not plaster over it with a new match.

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16. “You should give them some space.”

Sometimes this is true, but saying it out loud can make them feel abandoned. Instead of offering unsolicited advice, see if they want space, or if having company would be helpful. Sometimes just knowing someone’s there, without pressure to talk or “be okay,” is the most supportive thing you can offer.

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17. “You deserve so much better!”

Their heart is still broken, so hearing this might just make them feel even more inadequate and unlovable. It’s better to reassure them that they’re an awesome person worthy of love, even if they don’t believe it right now. Focus on building their confidence back up once the initial shock of the breakup wears off a bit.

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18. “You seem fine.”

Just because they’re not sobbing 24/7 doesn’t mean they’re okay. People process grief differently, and sometimes putting on a brave face is a coping mechanism. Don’t assume their outward composure means they don’t need your support – keep checking in and offering to listen, even if they refuse initially.

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Gail is Bolde's social media and partnership manager, as well as an all-around behind-the-scenes renaissance woman. She worked for more than 25 years in her city's local government before making the switch to women's lifestyle and relationship sites, initially at HelloGiggles before making the switch to Bolde.