Ask Anna: poor love choices

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Anna Lowenthal, Editor-in-Chief

 

Q: Dear Anna, my friend’s boyfriend is a complete jerk and I can’t stand him. What can I do to convince my friend that he’s worthless and doesn’t deserve her?

A: If you’ve ever had a close friend, chances are you’ve at one time or another come to the conclusion that the person they’re currently dating is the scum of the Earth. Considering the fact that you love your friend, and they love their beau, it can sometimes be difficult to bring up your concerns about the person they’re dating. Be tactful and soft about your approach, though, and you might just be able to talk some sense into them.

The last thing you want to do when you tell your friend that her boyfriend is garbage is to make it seem as though you only see the “bad” in them. Your friend is going to argue as much as she can against the negative aspects you point out about him, so make sure that you play both sides of the spectrum.

Remind her that, while you understand that he does a good job of making her feel special and takes her out on fancy dates, you also understand that he has a notorious habit of skipping out on plans and not returning phone calls. Even still, she’s likely to argue in favor of her boyfriend, but she might be able to follow your train of thought a bit if she knows that you see both the good and the bad in him (just as she undoubtedly does).

Pick an opportune time to tell your friend how you feel – in a way that is both beneficial to her and to you. If she’s all smiles and glowing about something nice her significant other has just done, it may not be the best time to tell her why you think he’s the bane of human existence.

Wait until she comes to you with yet another story about his neglect and inattentiveness before you pounce. If she’s feeling negatively about him already, you may have a bit more of a sway with your words. She’ll be able to listen (and maybe even agree) with some of your grievances about her significant other, and your talking to her might prompt the very-needed re-evaluation she needs to make of her relationship and her happiness within it.

Most people, for some reason, don’t seem to see the big picture when they’re a part of it. Remember all of those things she warned you about when you were dating that ex of yours? She probably does too – she just doesn’t see so clearly how she’s ignoring all the same warning signs you did. So put it into context for her.

If someone was treating you the same way she’s letting herself be treated, wouldn’t she have something to say about it? Would she be able to sit back and do nothing while your icky boyfriend continually hurt your feelings? Probably not. A simple reversal of roles might be all she needs to see your point of view.

Remember, though, that just because you hate your friend’s man-love, that doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to convince her to think he’s just as terrible as you do. She may not want to see the signs, but she may also know him better than you do.

In the end, she’s going to make whatever choice she makes, and it may be the one you favor, but it may not. Just because you are her friend, that doesn’t mean you’ll always be able to make her take off her blinders.

Love has a way of making us see the best qualities in some of the worst people, and we simply can’t help it. Though you shouldn’t stay silent about your opinions of your bestie’s boyfriend, understand that, no matter how hard you try, you still might not get through to her.

Being a friend is important, and knowing when and how to talk to your friend about their poor love-life choices is key to a healthy and happy relationship between you and her, and between her and her lover boy.