“Hi Jes! I have a question for you that I’m hoping you can answer. I have a friend who is an amazing girl–she’s wickedly smart & funny, & absolutely adorable. I love her to pieces… But not her boyfriend. This isn’t the first time–she tends to gravitate towards unemployed loser guys! It makes me crazy because these guys (& the latest is the worst) just leech off her & she puts all her energy into taking care of them, when she should be taking care of herself. She doesn’t have an awesome job, either, & I know if she wasn’t putting all of her energy into her boyfriend’s happiness then she could easily find a job doing something that she loves. Her current boyfriend is also high drama & they are constantly fighting & she comes to me upset by him all the time. She dated him for a little while a few years ago, & things were terrible that time around as well. Have you ever been in this situation? What do I do? I love her & I want the best for her, so much!”
Oh girl, I understand your problem. Not only have I been in your position, but I’ve been in your friend’s too! Here’s the thing: you must tell her how you feel. If you think your friend’s boyfriend is bad for her, you have to say something–& you have to tell her why. You also have to tell her now. You can’t wait until they break up, because you’ll get a smack from her if you do. Along the lines of, “Why didn’t you tell me he was such a turd?!”
When I was in my “dating turd guys” phase, I was lucky enough to have a friend who didn’t beat around the bush about her dislike of the men in my life. She was always really upfront about it (but not in a mean way), & her support finally got me over dating terrible men.
The important thing to remember when you’re talking about this with her is to not seem like you’re judging her, but to simply let her know that you don’t like the way she allows herself to be pushed around. My friend was always really great & open & honest about her feelings, & now I think we’re better friends because of it, even though I resented her at the time. You have to let that resentment come (because it will), but eventually it will pass.
As for all the dramarama, Dan Savage had a great analogy on his podcast about dealing with that. If your friend was standing next to the stove & put her hand on the hot burner, you’d be right there with the Bactine & bandages. But if she were to keep doing it, then you’d probably give her a little hell & tell her to stay away from the hot stove, yeah? After a while of her bringing you the burden of all the drama in her crappy relationship, it’s reasonable for you to say to her, “Look: I’ve made it clear how I feel about this dude, & I can’t keep giving the same advice. This is no longer something we can talk about.” That’s perfectly acceptable.
Listen, I know confrontation is never fun. There are ways to make it easier (Google “dealing with confrontation” to find all kinds of great articles on the topic), but it’s not a good time. Here’s the thing: she’s going to fight you. She will pull back from you, definitely. However, you’ll both feel better in the long term if you get it out now.
I’m going to throw this open to the readership as well–if you have any comments or tips for our sweet girl, please get in touch in the usual ways.
Good luck, baby! Let me know how it goes!