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; but 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 your 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?