It's hard to see a friend go through something that you can't help them with. It's the ever turning page of a lost love and a broken heart that pulls you into the whirlpool of, "Just let me in so I can help you."
But even then, you can't help. Things with the heart are always so complicated and messy because everyone feels things differently. Everyone loves in their own way, and expresses love differently to any singular individual they meet. No one can love someone else the way they did their last. It's almost like a finger print. Unique.
So when someone close to you comes to you with a broken heart in need of something, a sliver of anything, to make the pain go away, or even dim out just enough to be ignored, what do you do? It hurts to watch someone you care for, who's been there for you when you needed it most, suffer in silence. A broken-hearted friend is probably one of my biggest fears. Nothing you say can really change how they feel. You can express your sorrow, and offer up your understanding by way of a similar life experience of your own. Yet that does nothing for them but make them feel guilty about how they feel—like you're invalidating their emotions because you've been there, or others have been through worse. It's almost like you can't say anything to them, because you don't know what to say, and anything could be a possible trigger to make things so much worse.
But that's the thing, isn't it?
You can only be there for them in that time to listen, and understand to the best of your ability about what they're going through, and hope that venting alone could alleviate some of the pain they're feeling. Sometimes it's enough to just be there to listen. You don't always have to say something to them every ten seconds about how they did nothing wrong, and everything will be okay in the end. You don't know every detail and relive every moment the way they do.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, too many people are afraid to just be an ear to a friend. Too many people feel like listening alone is not enough to someone that's hurting. That they have to physically do or say something to make everything okay.
That's not true. You are enough by just listening. You don't have to say anything, just let them know you're there for them, and will continue to be there for them. If you must, you can always just offer up, "If you need anything, please don't hesitate to ask me."
But maybe that's just me.