Now if you did the heart breaking, that would be an altogether different situation. If you broke someone's heart accidentally, you can probably help the healing process with a heartfelt apology and doing everything in your power to make up for the wrong. If you did it intentionally, for whatever reason, the odds are unless you think you made a mistake and try to fix it, everything you do will only add to the other person's pain.
But if you are a friend, relative, or bystander who knows of someone who has had their heart broken by someone else, there are some things you can do to help.
DON'T LET HIM ISOLATE HIMSELF
You need to get him to get involved with life again. Don't let him wallow in self pity for very long. The more he isolates himself, the more walls he will build between him and every other relationship he has. It is very dangerous.
He needs to get involved with life again. He needs to interact with people. Get him involved in activities and clean social events. I pastor many people who have a broken heart in our Church and I've learned that people need to get involved in life again. They need to invest in other's lives in some way. I never recommend to a broken hearted person just to lie low. Get him involved.
You may need to be a bit blunt about it. You may need to say things like this: "Don't let what that other person did keep you from living! You're hurt, very hurt. I know you wouldn't want to wish that pain on anyone else, but staying here, doing nothing, is hurting those that do care about you. Come on. Let's get out of here."
Do whatever you need to, within reason, to get him involved in life again.
TRY TO GET HIM TO OPEN UP AND TALK ABOUT IT
So much pain is released when people are able to talk about their broken heart. If you can get him to talk, he will find a release for a lot of his pain. The problem is getting him to talk at all. He may want to so withdraw in himself that he has no interest in conversation. Or, more likely, he may fear reliving the pain if he talks about it.
He still needs to talk about it. You don't necessarily have to agree with his viewpoints, anger, or reaction, but being sympathetic is important. Allow yourself to sympathize with his pain. Tell him so. Tell him he needs to talk about it just to help rid himself of some of the pain. Explain that talking about it will help. Most likely you've suffered a broken heart yourself. Tell him about that time. Let him know that he isn't the only one that has ever suffered.
When he does start talking, you need to be a good listener. Don't interrupt, don't do the talking yourself. Learn to listen. Your thoughts, suggestions, and solutions are not relevant at this moment. Let him flush some of the pain out of his system. You don't have to have a solution; you just need to be a shock absorber.
USE HUMOR TO DRAW HIM OUT
This is something that I always try to do when I counsel a person with a broken heart. I try to get him to laugh. I may make a crack about getting a six pack of root beer, or making a run for the most broken heart award. If I can get a person to laugh, chuckle, or grin I will have broken past the pain for just a moment.
Having breeched the barrier of his pain, you are now in a unique position to help. Not only is he more apt to listen to you, but he has found a moment's relief from his pain and that is invaluable to him.
POINT HIM TO GOD
You or he may not be necessarily a Christian as I am, but having a God who loves you, a Saviour who cares for you is very comforting. Having a faith that is greater than the sum of all our lives brings tremendous hope and provides a solid rock on which to stand when the storms of life rage around you.
The great tragedy of life is having no hope. Give a person hope and he will find strength and reason to heal his broken heart.
These are some things that you can do to help someone with a broken heart.
Greg S. Baker is a Pastor, Counselor, and Author specializing in building and strengthening relationships.
For more books and resources on how to communicate better, express yourself, and strengthen social skills. Check out our book, 'Fitly Spoken', a Christian based book that explores the intricacies of human communication and expression in relationships.