People compare divorce to a loss as painful as death. Some have even said it’s even worse because it’s a living death, where the ex is still walking around but both partners no longer view the other in the ways they once did. Divorce is a loss — not only the loss of the relationship but the loss of what you imagined the future would look like with that person. To get through it, properly grieving the end of the union may help you cope. In that grieving, it’s important to have people who are there to support and help you through.

If your newly divorced friend calls on you to be the support system, here are some things you can do to help them along the journey. 

Don’t Bad Mouth the Ex

You may have been against this marriage from the start. Maybe you watched from afar as your friend was increasingly disrespected or disregarded by their partner. Just because you may have told them so, now is not the time to point that out. At the end of the day, reminding your friend the person they vowed to spend the rest of their life with wasn’t the best fit, isn’t helpful. What you think is taking shots at the ex, might be affecting your friend’s self esteem in the process. Best to keep it classy. If your friend wants to talk trash about their ex, you just listen.

Keep Inviting Them Out 

A lot of divorced people end up losing friends because they hung out with other couples while they were married. Some of those friends may feel pressure to remain loyal to the ex. Whether you’re married or single, make sure your newly divorced friend has something to look forward to by way of socialization. Going from sharing a home with someone to being by yourself can be a shock to the system. Continuing to invite them out may help them ease into their new reality. Even if they say no a lot in the beginning, keep extending the invite. It lets them know that someone cares.

Follow Their Lead

If you’re someone who wants all the tea, it might be very difficult to be there for your friend without trying to also be in their business. But put your needs to the side for a bit. Your friend will dictate how much they do and don’t want to share about the dissolution of the marriage. If you’re close enough, you can determine whether or not questions are appropriate. But try not to pry. It’s tacky. And at the end of the day, you’ll likely never understand the full picture of what happened. Only the two people in the marriage can know the reasons for the divorce. Sometimes they might be confused too.

Check in Even After the Dust has Settled 

If you’ve ever been through a loss, you know that after the initial impact, people come out of the woodworks with expressions of love and encouragement. But after the funeral and the repass, many of those people go on about their day-to-day lives. It’s fine, it’s human nature. Life is life-ing for us all. But if you want to show up for your newly divorced friend, check in months after the ink is dry on the documents.

Ask What They Need 

It can be hard to know how to be there for someone if you have no reference point for what they’re experiencing. So instead of trying to make educated guesses, sincerely ask your friend what they need. They may initially try to be polite and say nothing. But offer suggestions. Are they now parenting differently without their partner? Do they need a babysitter? Has the stress of the divorce made them forget to eat or eat things they normally wouldn’t? Maybe you could come with a meal. Perhaps they just need to vent. But asking–perhaps more than once–can help you get to the root of their needs.