Rachel Charlene Lewis
April 15, 2016 9:55 am
HBO

We’ve all been there. Your best friend has just had a shift in their life, and you want to be supportive, but you’re not sure it’s the best thing for them. Maybe it’s a new hookup or a new romantic partner. Maybe it’s a new job, new school, or a move across the country. Regardless, you can’t get the nagging feeling out of your stomach that says that this isn’t the right decision.

It’s hard when your friend makes a questionable choice. It’s even harder when they’re pumped about it. I mean, you love this person, and they mean the world to you, but you want them to be happy, and healthy, and living a good life. What do you do when they seem to be taking a step in the wrong direction?

Let them be happy about their decision.

If your friend wants to celebrate a questionable decision, let them have their moment to shine and get excited. As long as it’s nothing truly horrible, go to the celebratory shenanigans and clink your champagne glass. They deserve a chance to bask in this new change. They may have a revelation on their own in time that maybe this isn’t the right move. Give them a chance to realize it on their own before jumping down their throat.

Talk it over with mutual besties you TRUST.

Sometimes the best way to handle a problem is by chatting with your council of friends. But these have to be friends you trust. The last thing you want is to be responsible for creating a circle of gossip when your goal is to help out your friend. Find one or two really good friends who also really love the person you’re worried about, and just be open and honest with them.

This is especially important if you’re concerned about the healthiness of a friend’s relationship, because you’ll want to make sure not everyone is critiquing the relationship at once. You don’t want to overwhelm your friend and make it seem like an intervention, or like they’re being bombarded — it’s also important they feel they still have neutral friends to talk to who aren’t judging their choices.

Bring it to their attention in a non-threatening way.

It’s totally possible to call out your friend without ruining the friendship. What’s important is that both of you keep your egos out of it. If they don’t want your advice, don’t let it hurt you. And if you can make it so that they can hear you out as a friend rather than an enemy, it’ll be way easier to handle the drama that may unfold. If you’ve got a good sense of humor, maybe bring attention to the issue with a joke. Maybe use a pop culture reference. The first step is just letting them know that something seems to be up so you can break that ice early on.

Be straightforward.

Depending on the issue, it may be best to be straightforward. Some things, like unhealthy relationships and financial issues, can’t be delicately stepped around. There’s no neat and easy way to say that you think someone is in a bad relationship, or is drifting into financial doom. Layer your concerns with kindness, and make sure that your bestie can tell you’re saying it out of the goodness of your heart. It’s out of love — not judgment.

Remember your role in their life.

At the end of the day, you can only do so much to help out your BFF. It’s their life — not yours. This is obviously super hard when you know they’re in something that could turn into a messy situation, but all you can really do is be there for them.

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