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Question : My friend is dating a jerk. What do I say? When Elizabeth heard that her younger sister, Abby, had met a wonderful guy, she was thrilled. And he proceeded to get desperately drunk at dinner. I thought, What is she doing? Elizabeth was in a quandary. Should she say something and threaten her relationship with her sister? Or should she just live with it? It's not an easy call. But the truth is, we all bring hidden biases to the table and we need to examine them before we speak up, she says.
Caution is the word. If the partner is abusive, either physically or emotionally, expert opinion is unanimous: Say something, even if you know it won't be well received. In murkier cases, start by exploring why you're having such a strong reaction. Try entertaining the notion that your dislike may have to do with your own baggage. If someone is loud or raucous, you might be a little envious you've never given yourself permission to be that way yourself.
Once you've satisfied yourself that your discomfort doesn't stem from your own hang-ups, try a frank discussion with your friend. Tell her you're not comfortable, but you're not sure why, and ask her what she sees in this person. That way, says Praver, "you're accepting responsibility for feeling uncomfortable and you're enlisting your friend's help in resolving your problem. If your friend sticks to her guns despite your qualms, your choices are limited. Praver agrees. Elizabeth held her tongue even after the ill-fated dinner, when Abby's boyfriend blurted out that that he'd once been convicted of a domestic violence offense.
But when her sister called, a month later, and told her she was planning on spending her inheritance sending him through college, Elizabeth decided her sister's welfare was at stake and that she needed to speak up. Much to her relief, her sister dumped him. If you're concerned for your friend's emotional or physical safety, say something. If you simply want more time alone with her, find a tactful way to ask for it. If it's that you don't like the person, figure out why. Have a heart-to-heart in which you ask your friend's help in understanding this other person, and ask yourself if your dislike has anything to do with your own baggage.
If in the end your friend is happy but you really just don't like the guy, minimize the irritation factor by meeting the two of them in situations where you don't have to interact much—for a movie or a play, for instance, instead of a meal. Worry is driven by mood, not logic. Anxiety holds your deepest yearnings. And you can subdue it for good.
Three experts turn everything you know about anxiety inside out. Giving objective advice, and understanding that the rest is subjective. Back Psychology Today. Back Find a Therapist. Back Get Help. Personality Passive Aggression Personality Shyness. Family Life Child Development Parenting.
View Help Index. Do I Need Help? Back Magazine. September A Sigh of Relief Worry is driven by mood, not logic. Back Today. Essential Re.My friend is dating a jerk
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What if I don't like the person my best friend is dating?