Bad News Beau
What You Shouldn't Say to a Pal Who's in a Toxic Relationship
"He sounds like a jerk."
This might go without saying, but in most cases, it's important to have spent time with your friend's boyfriend before verbalizing any judgments about him or their relationship. In some cases, your pal might only be sharing the negative parts with you or dramatizing for effect. But whether or not her stories match her relationship's reality, your words will hold little weight if you haven't actually met the guy.
Even if you have hung out with her beau a few times, it's usually best to wait for your friend to bring up concerns about her relationship first, before pointing them out to her. "Giving unsolicited girlfriend advice is a very touchy subject," says Debba Haupert, founder of Girlfriendology.com. "Most of us want our friends to trust us and our decisions. Give her some time to figure out the situation. Ask her questions to learn more, but don't slant them to be judgmental or negative—just understand the situation and be conscious of her feelings." You might find that your typical grievances aren't actually the same as your friends'. "It's always difficult to assess relationships from the outside looking in," says Levine.
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