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Seeking Sensibility: When You Hate Their Boyfriend

Morgan Summers |
November 22, 2013 | 4:01 p.m. PST

Columnist

I really hate the guy my best friend is dating. She is constantly complaining about how they get into fights and how he treats her badly, but when I encourage her to break things off, they always end up getting back together. And once they make up again, suddenly she makes me feel like the bad guy for criticizing her boyfriend. I don’t want this to ruin our friendship, but I don’t want to support this asshole either. How should I handle this?

You look like an idiot when you don't dump a guy who isn't treating you right. (Clinton Steeds, Creative Commons)
You look like an idiot when you don't dump a guy who isn't treating you right. (Clinton Steeds, Creative Commons)

Ahh yes, we all have this friend.

The one with the on-again, off-again relationship, constantly complaining to anyone who will listen. We all hate that friend. Don’t be that friend.

Pro Tip: complaining makes everyone suffer. No one wants to hear it, and it makes both you and your partner look bad. Unless you wish to seek out honest advice from a good friend, keep your mouth shut.

I have made the mistake that your friend has made. In the end, I learned not to complain about my relationship problems to anyone. Why? Mostly because it makes me look like an idiot when I don’t dump a guy who isn’t treating me right, and it makes me look immature for not dealing with my problems like an adult. Plus it makes my boyfriend look bad, and it makes my friends dislike him if we stay together after getting through the rough patch.

Your friend is using you as her emotional dump-bucket. She gets validation for her feelings when you insult her boyfriend while she’s upset, but when she gets positive attention from her boyfriend, she doesn’t need you anymore. She wants someone to comfort her and rag on her boyfriend when she feels down, just so she can go running back when it’s convenient again.

She doesn’t want advice or a solution; she wants sympathy and someone to condone her childish behavior. Maybe she has low self-esteem, or maybe she’s just a fool for love who can’t bring herself to break things off. Maybe she’s overly dramatic and her boyfriend isn’t a bad guy after all, and she just likes to complain.

Whatever the reason is that she keeps running back to this guy, she needs to stop putting her burdens on you.

The best way to handle this?

Refuse to tolerate her behavior. The next time she tries to complain about her boyfriend, explain to her how frustrating it is to hear about her problems if she isn’t going to do anything to make the situation better. There is only so much advice a person can give.

If you don’t want to play hard ball, then another solution is to offer her support instead of criticism. Refrain from making comments and just be a listening ear. If she asks for your advice, instead of pointing out his flaws, ask how the things he does makes HER feel. Try to focus the conversation on her feelings rather than his shortcomings.

But if none of these things work, sometimes you just have to let people ride out their mistakes. Experience is the best teacher. Eventually people will realize where they went wrong, whether it takes a break-up or the loss of friendship to realize it.

 

Going through a relationship problem, or have an interesting story to share? Write in to Columnist Morgan Summers at [email protected] and you may be featured in next week's column!



 

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