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When Your Friend is Dating an Asshole

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Chiara Mazzucco

CEO, Editor-in-Chief at The Indie Chicks, Inc
Chiara got her start in the blogosphere by dishing out reality slaps on her dating and relationship blog. The brutal honesty that became her signature tone earned her the badass reputation she needed to get The Indie Chicks magazine up and running. She is also a web designer and author of The 9 Mirages of Love. Driven, stubborn, and wildly ambitious, she won’t stop until she is the perfect, self-empowered role model for all of her readers.

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When I give advice, I usually do so without hesitation – even when it comes to close friends. I refrain from catering it to the situation because most of the time, if not all of the time, I’m afraid my personal opinion will get in the way. Yes, all of my advice is my personal opinion, I’m aware of that I’m also aware of the fact that if I dated a guy before you did, and then you tell me he’s acting a certain way, I will inevitably tell you he’s cheating on you – just like he cheated on me. Instead, I prefer to stay neutral, look at the facts, and give you unbiased, brutally honest advice.

This topic is a complicated one: you love your friend but she’s dating someone you know in your heart is poisonous to her health. It’s complicated because it often times DOES directly affect you, even if you’re not the one dating the prick. So let’s take a look at your options and figure out exactly what path you should follow when your friend is dating an asshole.

If You Choose to Stay Silent

“Not my heart, not my problem.” Or in softer terms, you feel you don’t have a say because it’s not your relationship. You can very well choose to stay quiet and watch shit crumble before your very eyes, but know this: If you do so, you WILL be held accountable when it crumbles. “You’re my friend! You SHOULD HAVE said something.” So while you safely avoid being verbally beaten by an infatuated friend, you risk being verbally beaten by a heartbroken one.

If You Choose to Meddle

On the opposite side of the spectrum, you can only do so much. People get very protective over their love affairs. Let’s not forget about the shutters love puts over your eyes – I wrote a whole book on it. The truth is, it’s more than their inability to admit to the toxicity someone they love brings to their life; it’s also an ego slash. “How dare you claim I am incapable of properly picking a suitable mate?” You will never know the ins and outs of a relationship if you’re not in it, no matter how close you think you are to your friend.

Finding the Middle Ground

The role of a friend is a complicated one, to say the least. You’re expected to love and support, while simultaneously protect and challenge. It’s your job to make sure your friends don’t make life altering mistakes, and it’s also your job to be there if they do. In order to fulfill both duties in this situation, you have to speak up and know where to stop. It’ll be hard, especially if your friend is dating a really shitty person but the situation is, again, complicated.  Speak up, voice your opinion, and then back off.

Sometimes You Need to Know When to Walk Away

There are times things go much deeper than, “Hey, guy’s a jerk, he cheated on his last chick.” Sometimes there are personal reasons, sometimes things are really serious, and sometimes it just hurts to watch your friend endure that kind of pain. Sometimes, you have to walk away. This is a controversial issue, I’m aware of that. Some will say a friend should stick by your side no matter what, but I say the opposite. I say, there are times your heart will hurt and that’s not fair – especially when your friend is ignoring every effort that you’re making. I say, some cases call for outside help; help greater than you could even contribute. I say, you too, have a life worth living and enjoying and keeping their toxic relationship around is like keeping your own toxic relationship around.

If you’re not disliking based on jealousy or selfish reasons, you need to speak up. If you’re losing your friend, the friendship is worth the fight. Just remember to pick your battles and know when to walk away because in most situations, your well-being is at stake, too.

How do you deal when your friend is dating an asshole?

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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  • Ashley

    Great article! I’ve always had a really hard time with your last point of knowing when to walk away. I keep hanging on, trying to help, but you are right – sometimes I’m getting hurt in the process. There’s a very fine balance between sticking it out or leaving it behind. There is only so much one person can do or say, and I think you make a great point in that my own well-being is important, too, and that shouldn’t be forgotten. It all depends on the situation, of course. You never want to “break up” with a friend, especially over a prick. But their toxic relationship can really spread and affect others in so many ways.

    • Chiara Mazzucco

      Such great points, Ashley. Unfortunately, it is often much more complicated than simply speaking up and/or walking away.. But it’s something we all deal at some point or another! Your well-being is always important; we just tend to sweep it under the rug for those we care for.

  • Roxanne

    I think speaking up — properly practiced and timed — is so very important these days. One of the reasons it is so important is because women don’t wait for marriage to have children or merge finances. When women did wait, dating a jerk who will never marry at least provided a time barrier before lives and debt were created. In the old days when the woman finally realizes the guy is a jerk or a cheater or will never commit, she hasn’t co-signed on a loan or allowed him to father her child. In the old days as the friend you had time to just wait for the realization and pick up the pieces. Even if there was an engagement there was time to point out the issues before there was a legal tie. But now, a girlfriend must speak up before the dreaded words “we having a baby” are uttered. When there’s a baby, she’s tied for life whether or not they stay together. As the girlfriend you weren’t given fair warning that your window of opportunity to point out that the guy is a jerk was closing. Suddenly, the jerk who you thought was just a rebound guy is the father of your friend’s baby and everybody is stuck with him. So, I say, speak up, sooner rather than later. Find out whether any life long commitments are in the works. Sure, she might not listen and she might not drop the dude right away but maybe, just maybe she’ll stop at the drug store more often and keep her social security number to herself.

  • stella

    at every moment we all think at the end to whom who are datin is turned out to be AS….

  • Jo-Anne

    It is harder when your sister marries an asshole and two of my sisters did just that

    • ohorat_gyu

      omg :| I hope your sisters and their families are doing okay tho

  • Genevieve Cordery

    It’s sad when I realize that I was the friends dating the asshole. All my friends hated him…