It’s bound to happen at one time or another: Your friend starts dating someone, and you think they’re a horrible match. So what should you do if you find yourself in this situation? We interviewed a couple of experts, who say you should try to figure out why you’re feeling the way you do—and let that guide your reaction.
If you’re upset because your friend isn’t available as often, your feelings about your friend’s partner are likely more about your relationship (and yourself) than they are about that person. Psychologist Brandy Engler recommends holding your tongue and says that it’s better just to realize that you’re suffering from a loss and to tend to your own sadness. “Take care of yourself, cry or grieve,” she says.
If you genuinely think the person is a bad fit for your friend, Engler says that you can say something—but that it’s important to avoid making judgmental comments.
“You can say, ‘I’m concerned about this behavior’ or ‘I feel uncomfortable when I see him do this. How does that impact you?’” she says. “Use specific behavior examples rather than generalizations like, ‘They’re selfish.’”
You can also bring it back to your friend’s experience with a question: “Tell her you’re concerned she’ll be emotionally neglected, and ask if she feels cared for,” says Engler.
Keep in mind, though, that it’s your friend’s relationship, says Jane Greer, a New York-based relationship expert and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. So it’s about how they feel—not how you feel. “If it’s just your opinion that you don’t like certain behaviors or mannerisms, it’s best to hold your tongue,” she says.
The bottom line? Don’t jump to ending things with your friend—or even saying something that could cause any disruption in your relationship—without thinking it through first. Greer says that, sometimes, adjusting your expectations of the friendship is the best solution.
“Let the relationship settle into its own rhythm before making a decision on whether the friendship has reached an endpoint,” she says.