What do you do when a close friend takes on a new girlfriend who is clearly sketchy to everyone else, but sweet as kumquat pie to your friend? Should you sit back and watch your friend fall into an unhealthy love affair, or do you say something and risk looking like you are trying to block your friend’s happiness? Well, take it from someone who screwed up a level of her friendship due to letting her thoughts be known, this is a delicate situation and you better plan your intervention wisely, and think twice before saying anything at all.
I know it seems almost ludicrous to not try and protect your friend if you think danger is near, but when it comes to you trying to shield your friend of a broken heart, you are embarking upon a far more intricate spider’s web. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t alert your friend of his latest love interest’s suspicious behavior, but definitely make sure your words are compassionately phrased and well timed. Even if you put forth how you’ve given the new girlfriend the benefit of the doubt many times, but her behavior just doesn’t ring true, your friendship absolutely changes no matter what your best intentions may be. With me, my guy friend, we’ll call him Jimmy, is an extremely thoughtful person and upon letting him know my fears about said lover, he listened and even thanked me, but I knew by his protective, cleverly “pulling straws” responses, he was basically in a defensive mode on behalf of his girlfriend and he wasn’t quite able to believe the behavior I was concerned about. Let’s just say that I walked away from the heated conversation feeling like I just lost a friend.
Why shouldn’t you warn your friend of your misgivings if you want only the best for him (or her?) Because it is everyone’s right to do what they gotta do. Some, in order to figure out the next level of love they need for themselves, have to slip down the “Rabbit’s Hole,” so to speak, if that is what they think they need at the time—even if unaware they are slipping anywhere. Basically, any which way you try, intervening too soon is when you risk looking suspicious, bringing up how you don’t trust the new girl or understand his lust for this new girl. You could potentially draw the two love birds into bigger “love.” Exactly what you want to avoid.
As much as you feel it is your duty to protect your friend, it is also your duty to just be there when your friend needs someone to talk to when they’ve gone down a road that wasn’t the best road to take. It is at that point that you slowly put your concern out there—when they actually ask your advice. This is how you know if your friend is truly ready to see the whole picture. On a side note, there is a part of me that wanted to write the article: “Listen to Your Friends and Ditch the Girl.” When all is said and done, one should recognize their friends as these people who have been acquired over many years, staying close at hand for a reason. If all of them are finding sketchy occurrences with a new lover, than that is something to take a look at. Respect that friends might just know and love you better than this new girl says she “loves” you.
Originally published in In the Scene Magazine