Getting dumped sucks, but it’s even worse when you know the relationship is over and plan to end it yourself but your partner gets there first. That’s exactly what happened to one of my closest friends, but instead of commiserating with her, I threw her a breakup party. Best idea ever.
I wanted to do something different. When someone you love is hurting, it’s easy to go for the quick saves: a pint (or three) of Ben and Jerry’s, a predictable yet endearing rom-com, and a Spotify playlist filled with multiple covers of “The First Cut Is The Deepest” and “I Will Survive.” Those things don’t really help and they’re totally unoriginal. I had a random idea to throw her a goodbye party for her relationship that was more of a celebration than a sad farewell. After all, we were all happy to see that creep go!
I made sure to observe her feelings first. In this kind of situation, it’s so important to think of the other person. You might be ecstatic to see their toxic partner edged out of the picture and deep down they might be glad too, but however it happens, losing someone you once loved is painful. Your friend might not want to make a whole event out of the ending of her relationship and if that’s the case, you need to respect that. Luckily in my case, after considering the situation, she was all for it so we pressed on.
I came up with cathartic and fun activities to help her heal. We played a drinking game where she listed off all the things that pissed her off about her relationship and everyone that had been through something similar took a sip of wine. This let her release all of her frustrations into the universe while simultaneously feeling better about the fact that we’ve all been there before. We also wrote down the names of our exes on pieces of paper and threw them into a fire, a la Jessica Biel’s famous love-hating party in Valentine’s Day. Corny, yes, but man, did it feel good!
I got a bunch of our friends involved so it was budget-friendly. Maybe you don’t have the kind of budget where you can spend tons of cash on a get-together like this. That’s totally OK! Just talk it over with all of your friends and go in together on costs. Work on a budget and it can still be fabulous. Have a potluck where everyone brings a dish to share. Buy decorations from the dollar store. Come up with fun games you can play at someone’s house like we did. As long as everyone offers their love and support, the party’s going to be great no matter how much you spend.
We were there for her on a real level despite the fun. Even though we had a great time joking and making her laugh, we made sure she was aware the entire time that we were in no way making light of this heartbreaking situation she was in. Going through a breakup, whether the relationship was healthy or not, can be psychologically damaging to a person. As women and friends, we wanted her to always know that she could cry and vent and we would be right there to listen to her and comfort her.
She told me it opened her eyes moving forward. Anytime you’re able to help a friend through a rough patch in their life is a rewarding experience, but the best part for me was when she told me that not only had the party cheered her up, it had made her realize that she had been putting blinders on not only in that relationship but in countless others in her past. She said she’d ignored certain red flags she’d seen from the beginning with guys and to no surprise, those relationships ended badly. Moving forward, she felt like she had a better sense of what she wanted in a romantic partner and was not going to settle for anything less again.
It led us all to the same conclusion. After that conversations, I reevaluated my own past relationships and realized that I had also been guilty of brushing off unacceptable behavior from guys in the past. When I talked to our other girlfriends who were at the party, they all said the same thing. As it turns out, the party had not only helped our friend, it had helped us all. Talk about a win-win!
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