If your friend is in a bad relationship, you probably want to talk to her about breaking it off. Your objections to her boyfriend might be that he has irritating habits, treats your friend badly or is rude to her, you or others. No matter what your reasons might be, if your friend is blind to her boyfriend's flaws, it will be difficult to get her to see what you do. You'll need to approach her with tact and sensitivity if you hope to preserve your relationship with her after you've made your feelings known.
Know Your Friend
Evaluate what you know about your friend and her past relationships with men. If she has a pattern of choosing inappropriate boyfriends and later regretting her choices, remind her of the past when you discuss her current boyfriend. Listen attentively to what she says about her boyfriend and note signs of her frustration and unhappiness that you can help her recognize. Know what her tolerance for criticism is and don't persist to the point of nagging and irritating her. Recognize that most people who value their independence are likely resistant to being told what to.
Examine Your Motives
It's critically important that your motives are pure. Do some serious soul-searching to determine whether your objections to the boyfriend might be caused, even in part, by jealousy you feel. If there's any possibility that you want the breakup for reasons other than your friend's best interests, it's best to keep your feelings to yourself.
Evaluate the Boyfriend
Be as objective as possible when assessing the boyfriend's positive and negative characteristics. Assess which of his personality flaws are the deal breakers, so you'll be prepared to speak logically and dispassionately when you approach your friend. Be prepared to give your friend concrete, specific examples of the negative qualities you've observed.
Don't hesitate to enlist the support of your friend's family members and other friends. The more people who agree with your assessment of the boyfriend, the greater the chances of your friend considering your advice. A united approach validates your opinion and makes it difficult for your friend to ignore your warnings or to dismiss them as untrue.
How to Communicate
Prepare in advance what to say and how you'll say it. In the "Canadian Living" article "Five Tips for Giving Advice to Your Friends," Linda Hovanessian, a life coach and therapist, recommends asking thought-provoking questions to help guide your friend's thinking in the right direction. Make sure you clearly state that your intention is to help.
Freddie Silver started writing newsletters for the Toronto District School Board in 1997. Her areas of expertise include staff management and professional development. She holds a master's degree in psychology from the University of Toronto and is currently pursuing her PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, focusing on emotions and professional relationships.
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