For the past three or so years, one of my dear friends keep joining back up with the same crappy guy. It’s stuffed with highs and lows — but mostly lows. In the end, they always end up hurting each other be it via harmful remarks, public disrespect or infidelity. It’s not always him, it’s her, too — they are both at fault. I’ve watched it sizzle up and turn to dust countless times. It seemed the two were done for good until I got a text from my friend last night telling me they reunited, begging me to be happy for her and allow her time to assess the relationship’s new grounds. But how could this time be any different?
I absolutely want her to be happy but I’m exhausted from watching the trainwrecks and always bending over to help her straighten the damage. How can I tell her I cannot be objective about her relationship but still be a good friend?
It’s things like these that make me wish there was a friendship handbook. That way, somewhere in it, maybe written in fine print at the bottom, it would tell us how to be honest but not let the truth hurt our friends. But since there isn’t, sometimes all you can do is voice your opinions and hope the other person doesn’t just hear it — but that they are actually listening.
I think it’s fair to say that sometimes we as girls don’t always realize that our relationships tend to involve our friends, too — even if we don’t mean for it to happen. So it’s important to let each other know, which is what you need to do. Part of being friends means sharing things, and whether it’s something extremely monumental, or something insignificant, it’s part of the job description to be there.
Unfortunately your friend’s back-and-forth relationship is no exception. You’re being pulled along on the ride as well, but you don’t have to be stuck on the ride with them. You can just be there to hold her hand if she needs it. The fact that you guys are friends kind of obligates you to be there for her. At the same time though, that also means she has to hear you out. It’s a give and take.
Try explaining that when it comes to your feelings about the relationship, you have history on your side. Reference the times it didn’t work out before, and genuinely ask her why this time would be any different? Listen to her logic, try to understand it. If you can’t, try explaining that if the plot or the characters to her story never change, chances are the ending probably won’t either. Explain how you’ve seen their relationship’s ups-and-downs and that she deserves to finally be on solid ground. Remind her of the line between “what she wants, and what she deserves.” Nobody deserves to be cheated on or have nasty things said to them, no matter where the blame falls. She may not agree with it, but you deserve to get it out there, and she deserves to hear the truth. You have to try and shine lights on the things she may not be able to or want to see. At the end of the day she’s going to make her own decisions, but that also means she will have to deal with the consequences. So all you can do is speak up, say your peace and be there for her if and when that happens.
Telling her that it’s impossible for you to be objective is OK because you can’t be, and she shouldn’t want you to be. It’s OK because you have, in fact, been there through it all. So make sure that’s the part you focus on: that you’ve been there, and you still will be. Part of being a good friend is looking out for her, and doing this without judging or telling her who she should spend her time with. It’s being happy she’s happy even if you think she deserves better, and working at it to make sure she realizes it, too — even if it drives you crazy. It can be hard to be the shoulder to cry on, when to us the situation could so easily be avoided if she just walked away but, for lack of a better phrase, sometimes we just have to suck it up. If you are pretty sure you know how it’s going to end, you’ll also know she’s going to need you.
I’ve been in your situation more times than I’d care to admit, and I’ve found honesty is truly the best policy. Unfortunately the cliché of “sometimes the truth hurts” can be applied here as well. But sometimes as a friend you’re going to say things other friends don’t want to hear, and that’s fine. Sometimes it’s what they need to hear. They may get upset with you now, but when they find that great guy who treats them right all because they finally walked away from this one, they’ll be grateful. Sometimes it takes longer than you want for them to see what you’ve been seeing all along, but in my experiences, their eyes all finally opened. Maybe not right away, but in time.
What do you guys think? How else should she approach it? Do you think being honest is the way to go?
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