1. People & Relationships

I Hate Who My Friend Is Dating

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Couple

How can you tell your friend that you don't like the person he or she is dating?

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Question: I Hate Who My Friend Is Dating
My friend and I have been best friends since the fifth grade. She's dated some cute guys, and some that were nice, but lately she's been with this loser who doesn't have a real job and seems to monopolize her time. The last time I asked her if she wanted to do something together, she said she was going to have to check with him to make sure he could come along with us.

I really do not care for her boyfriend, and I'm hoping she breaks up with him. How can I tell her this?

Answer:

Your question is a common one in terms of friendship, because as your lives grow and expand, there will probably many situations like these that will change the dynamic of your relationship.

I Hate My Friend's Boyfriend
Love is a strange thing, and it's not always easy to understand why some people fall for the people they do. It's our job as friends to support each other, so you need to figure out why you don't like your friend's boyfriend. It's not enough to just tell your friend you don't like him, because she will probably pull away from you and assume that you're just jealous.

Jealousy could be one reason you resent the time she's spending with him. The jealousy could be in regard to your loss of friendship time or in the fact that you don't have a boyfriend yourself right now. Either of these situations will feel uncomfortable to you when your friend is having a great time with someone new.

In both these situations, you need to come to terms with the change in your friendship. Right now your friend might be spending less time with you, but that can change as her romantic relationship changes. If your jealousy stems from your own lack of romance, you'll have to take steps to give your friend her space and meet someone yourself.

When Your Friend Is Dating Someone Who Is Not a Positive Influence
If you feel that your friend's boyfriend is actually harmful to her, then it's time to speak up. Dangerous things to look for include:

  • Drug or alcohol use.
  • Controlling behavior.
  • Encouraging friend to slack off at work.
  • Name calling.
  • Physical abuse.

Sometimes it's easy to see what is wrong in someone a friend is dating, and sometimes not. If the person's behavior is just laziness and he's using your friend, it might be worth a discussion but you need to be careful about how you bring it up. If you come on too strong she'll feel the need to defend him and that will drive an even bigger wedge between the two of you.

Tips for Confronting a Friend About Their Boyfriend or Girlfriend
Be absolutely sure that you're not reading too much into a situation or feeling jealous before you bring it up with your friend. When you are sure that you're just concerned as a good friend should be, go ahead and have a talk with your friend. When confronting a friend, be sure to use:

  • Facts versus opinions. For example, "I've seen John take your credit card when you weren't looking" as opposed to "Why doesn't John ever pay his own way?"

  • A concerned tone. For example, "I'm your friend, and if you're happy, I'm happy for you. I have some concerns about John's behavior, such as X, X, X. What do you think about this?" Let your friend explain and then listen closely.

  • The right time and place. Don't bring up your concerns in a public place, or when your friend doesn't have time to process the information.

Remaining Friends
If you've brought up the situation with your friend, he or she may be confused or angry. Try your best to let your friend know you are there for them. Say something like, "I'm sorry, I don't mean to upset you. I am concerned about your happiness. Since you've told me you are happy, I'll leave it alone. Just know you can always talk to me. What's really important is that we stay friends."

After you've had the discussion, don't continue to harp on it, but let it go. Be there for your friend if he or she needs you down the road. If your friend's relationship continues or not, be supportive either way.

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