I'm single. I've been single for a while now, but now I'm finally single in a way that I can comfortably say out loud seriously. I was able to rant about being alone, joking around with my friends. I could say it to myself, quietly. But to honestly tell people? That took a while.
As soon as I told my friends about my relationship, we went through the phases of Breakup Conversations.***
(Optional) Phase One: "WHAT??"
This phase is the initial gut reaction you get from friends either when the breakup is a surprise or when you didn't talk about having problems. It's the ice breaker for all the phases that follow.
Phase Two: "Oh, honey..."
This is how friends generally react after the initial surprise of your status change. It's sympathetic, it's out of love, and it's polite. This phase is about making sure your newly single friend is alright. It's not about the ex or the breakup. This is frequently where "How are you holding up?" is heard. Your friends are trying to figure out how you're taking this change. Until they can feel you out, they don't know what you need. Do you want to eat your feelings with some chocolate or junk food? Do you need a stiff drink? Do you need to punch somebody? Or cry? Or any combination of those? The cool thing is that at this point your wish is basically their command. Seriously, they'll find you someone to punch. And they'll make sure you know how to throw a punch first, too. They've got this covered. (There aren't many perks to this, so enjoy what little you can.)
Phase Three: "What happened?"
Once your emotional well-being is sorted, your friends want to know what the hell went down. You can include more or less details depending on what your friends already knew and what you want to share. Give them something, though. They'll need something to analyze and dissect after you leave.
Phase Four: "Well, that guy is a dick."
This might not follow immediately. The timing of Phase Four depends on how you're taking things, how honest your friends are, and how they felt about your relationship. His taste in music? Shit. His friends? Annoying. That time he made that comment about your career but we all thought he was using mental air quotes around the word career? Dick move. Now, if they really thought he was great, it won't have the same venom behind the words but trust me--you'll hear the words. If your friends feel that this breakup might reverse, then they might ease up on this phase. Nobody likes being the friend who goes off about a guy only to have him show up at the bar with you next week.
This phase is about making you feel ok that you're single again. You didn't need that guy--he sucks.
Phase Five: "You're so much better off."
This will follow directly after Phase Four. They pretty much go hand in hand. That guy is shitty, you're awesome, so there's no way you could have lasted. This is building you back up. When friends do this, they're getting their girl back in fighting condition. And that's because it's all leading to...
Phase Six: "You need to get back out there!"
This phase also might be delayed. Your friends want to make sure you're back to 100% before they push it. Because this? This is your ticket to Set Up City, whether you want it or not. Sure, there might be nights out, new bars, parties...but that's all part of their plan to set you up.
Personally, I'm in Phase Six. The set ups are starting. We'll see what happens...
***Admittedly, this is more what women go through. I have surprisingly little experience in dealing with men post-breakup. Which is weird, now that I think about it...what do you guys do?