When someone goes through personal misfortune, how do you help?

When someone goes through the personal misfortunes and disappointments in life, how do you help them cope with their feelings of hopelessness and defeat.

I have been helping a good friend through a devastating breakup and found myself trying to help this person look forward.  I first told them the only thing the other person can do is leave, what you do after that is up to you.  Another thing I have harped on is as much as we want not look at this, no one has to stay in love with you  and they have the right to want to end a relationship.  Once we found out the person was cheating, I then concentrated on the point that you cannot let this person affect how you look at relationships.  Its up to you how you deal with this and your ethics and outlook on life has to separate an apart from this situation. 

As I have gone through this I decided to post this because such things are important in dealing in a reality of no beliefs in dieties that give a false sense of fairness. 

I want to know how other members see such situations and their coping mechanisms

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Remaining objective and rational in a time of misfortune is very importaint. I find it's often best to back away from a bad situation (if it doesn't need an immediate resolution) and do something stupid and funny for awhile.

Whenever my friends contact me and tell me they are having a bad day, I let them know my doors are open. They'll come over and play video games, watch (and make fun of) crappy movies, or just talk. It's often a good way to blow some steam, and then they can readdress the problem. If they're willing to open up and talk about it, then I try to keep the conversation on a rational and calm level.

Relationship issues can be pretty tough ones to work through. My condolences.

I do that basically.  I never tell a person to leave someone or stay with them.  I just let them know some of the things like I stated in the aforementioned statement.  In the end we all do what we want to do.  Questions like, "Should I talk to him?"  Are answered, "That's up to you, but the question is why do you want to talk to them and what do you want from the person?".  They also must realize they cannot control the outcome and make sure they are ready to deal with what they may hear.

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