This whole blog post is a major breach of girl code. I’m well aware of that. But, I felt like I had to write it after I was a guest at a lovely dinner party where I was seated next to a couple where the woman was terrible to the man. She berated him in front of me, a total stranger, was competitive with him and was totally boring while he was a dreamy conversationalist. After the party, I sent a gossipy text to my host asking about this couple and she responded that she was so conflicted about that couple. The woman is a longtime friend of hers and the man is her new boyfriend. She’s realizing that her friend is always on awful behavior with this man. The way she acts with him make my host friend think that her friend isn’t good enough for this man. Yikes, right? She asked me what to do and here’s what I told her.
Know what you don’t know
I’m a relationship expert. So, I feel like I know a lot about love and relationships in general. But, I know nothing about specific relationships. What you see of couples is such a small percent of who they are together that it almost doesn’t count. Know that they could have a beautiful relationship behind closed doors and for whatever reason, social situations set off an icky dynamic. Or maybe your friend is a wonderful girlfriend and this guy likes getting guff in public. (Not sure why, but different strokes!) You could be very wrong about what’s going on between them or right about only 1% of what’s going on between them and unaware of the other 99. So, before you get into doling out unsolicited relationship advice or making judgments about your friend, take a moment to acknowledge you don’t know much about this relationship.
Say something once
That being said, if you’re thinking that your friend isn’t good enough for her boyfriend, you have seen enough to warrant a chat with her. Keep in mind this is going to be short, direct and the only time you bring this up to her, not matter what happens. Don’t bring up your thoughts in little jokes or keep hammering your point home if she doesn’t change everything right away. What you need to do is find a private, sober moment with your friend. Talk about how much you like her partner and are glad this person is now in your life. Then, bring up your concern about how she’s treating him. Use specific examples, two to three examples is the perfect number. And then let it be. Listen to her reaction and be empathetic. Let her know you’re there for her and not judging her. You only wanted to point out something because you love her. And now it’s time for you to…
Yep. Butt out! This is the hardest part. You’ve done all you can and anything above and beyond that will be counter-productive. So, stop obsessing over it, stop talking about it with your friend and stop talking about it with others. (That last one is the hardest for me.) You can only control the things you can control and your friend’s relationship dynamics are not one of those things. Tough pill to swallow (at least for me), but the best thing you can do in this situation is be a supportive friend. Listen when she talks and offer feedback when asked, but keep it to yourself if she doesn’t ask.
That helped my friend figure out what her next steps should be with her friend, so I’m hoping it helps you with yours.