A divorce is a difficult time for everyone - friends and family included. Unfortunately, many people do not realize the affect a divorce can have on family and friends until it is too late. How you break the news to them will have a profound effect on how they deal with the reality of the situation; they will most likely go through some of the same periods of adjustment that most people go through when confronted by a traumatic event.
Your family and friends will grieve with you, mourn with you and will mourn the loss of your marriage almost as much as you will.
After this period of mourning, your family and friends may experience a sense of denial. They may convince themselves that this is just a phase and that you will reconcile. They may spend a good deal of time trying to convince the two of you that you really do not want to divorce each other. They may continue to invite the two of you over in hopes of encouraging you towards this end.
Once it has become clear that this is not a phase or a mistake, they will become sad over the divorce. This will most likely occur with family more so than with friends. They may become angry with you or your spouse, directing that anger at either of you. Their anger may seem irrational, as though you had deliberately decided to make a problem for them or that you are just being stubborn and should reconcile. Nevertheless, once they have gone through these phases, then hopefully they will come to accept that the divorce is really happening and they can provide the support you will need for the difficult times that are ahead.
There are some ways to minimize the damage that a divorce can have on your family and friends:
If possible, tell your family and friends in person.
It is even better if you can tell your loved ones with you and your spouse together. Even though you will no longer be a couple, telling them together will help convince them that it was a mutual decision. It is also important for them to understand that this decision was not impulsive, that you both have thought long and hard about this and it was a very difficult decision for you to make.
Be prepared to endure some opposition.