How can I help my best friend?
November 9, 2008 11:03 AM   Subscribe

My best friend just went through a shitty breakup, how can I help her from another country?

I am studying abroad for the quarter, and my best friend jsut went through a shitty breakup. I am looking for ways to help her out and make sure she is ok from another country. Is there anything you think I could do from Europe to make this American girl feel better?
posted by Carillon to Human Relations (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know about specific things to do or say, but is there a convenient overlap in timezones so that you can tell her "I'll be online/available by phone every day from Xam to Xam your time/Ypm to Ypm my time if you want to talk"? I'd be really touched if someone carved out time specifically for me from their trip abroad.
posted by Meg_Murry at 11:16 AM on November 9, 2008

send her treats and trinkets she can't get in the US (like black current starbursts mmmm!). send a box a week. make it small. make sure there's something personal in there - a collage from local magazines that's about a night out you guys shared...
posted by nadawi at 11:21 AM on November 9, 2008

Helping someone through a breakup is something more helpful done in person. Obviously you can't do this for your friend right now.

But you can urge her to get out, take up new activities, and meet up with friends/acquaintances to occupy herself instead of dwelling on the breakup. And of course, reiterating that you are available to her to talk whenever she starts getting upset is very comforting.
posted by helios410 at 1:31 PM on November 9, 2008

Send chocolate.

European chocolate is categorically better than American chocolate. Hell, European candy in general is LOADS better. It's also fun to open a package full of foreign goodies!

When I went through my divorce, a good friend sent me a batch of homemade cookies and a box of tea (obvs. the cookies wouldn't work, but sweets in general are good) and it made me feel so wonderfully loved. It may be kinda cliché, but chocolate's really comforting.

(If she likes tea, that's also something that's better in Europe and travels well!)

Make a point to check in on her in an non-obtrusive way - send short emails about random stuff you see that she'd like, or write funny messages on her Facebook wall - just reminding her of your presence. If she needs to talk, she'll know you're there for her, but there's really nothing good that can come of constantly asking "Do you need to talk?" - sometimes, you just want to think about something ELSE.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:57 PM on November 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ask a mutual friend to give her a big surprise hug and have them tell her that the hug is from you. Sort of like a singing telegram (but without the embarrasment or the singing)!
posted by hooray at 7:10 PM on November 9, 2008

Use jajah or skype or whatever free or cheap phone calls you can-- mostly people need to talk. so, let her know that you're available and call her a lot if that works for her.
posted by Maias at 7:13 PM on November 9, 2008

It is frustrating to know a close friend is going through something horrible and lonely and you are too far away to 'be there' in the traditional sense. I've gone through this enough times since my closest peeps are not in the same time zone as I am. Call your friend. Unless she is not into talking or phones, just call the woman. Everyday if you need to (or can) for the first week. Even if you can't be there in person, your voice is the most human thing you can send her. Tell her she's awesome, and how much you love her, and how shit is going to get better. Because it is. Like Maias said: Skype. There are plenty of callshops all over euroland where you can sit in a smelly booth and talk for an hour.

Other than this, send her post. In addition to things like chocolate and tea (already mentioned) you might consider sending her a book (fiction or self-help or whatever) or some photos of you around town that she can have to remind her she's got a rad friend - this is not arrogant, it's nice: go to one of those rad 4-shot photo booths if you can find one. They're nostalgic and take good photos.

While you're waiting for your amazing care package to reach her, use the web to keep in contact. poke her on facebook. send her a funny link. whatever. If you have a group of friends in common, get talking with all of them about who's going to bring her the soup today and who's going to take her for coffee tomorrow. Send lots and lots of love. You can do this from abroad, and it could make all the difference.
posted by tamarack at 7:24 PM on November 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

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