Everyone is happy when their friend finds love, or something to that effect. Yes, there are some naysayers who will never be happy for their friends and will insist on being the voice of negativity at every turn, but overall everyone is happy. It’s just so hard for people to find something significant these days. It’s virtually impossible to meet someone to go out on a date and even if you begin to date someone, you are worried about trust and your partner’s mental psyche. Nothing is worse than finding out the girl of your dreams is actually possessive and a professional stalker. But every now and then someone is lucky to find the person of their dreams, or at least the person who they should spend their time dreaming about. Your friend has met a real good person and you are happy for them.
As with most friendships there are things you will tell your friends that you will not tell your significant other. And your friends are sworn to secrecy. Your friends know that you’re actually sleeping with two or three guys instead of just one. They also know when you know that a guy is falling in love with you, but you only really like him for his money or sack time behavior. As a friend you stay tight lipped about these things, although sometimes you have to let them know when they’ve done the 40 yard dash in a 30 yard room and gone too far. You may have friends who are completely in the wrong, and you know that if you were in their position you would not be risking a great relationship on a periodical romp.
What should you say to your friend?
This is really a tough one to answer because you have to consider several things before deciding to act on the situation. You will want to consider your existing friendship and who your loyalty is to. You will want to consider if it is really your place to give relationship advice to your friend. You also have to consider to what extent you want to advise your friend. I have had several situations in which friends have said, “Doc, please talk to your friend, he’s making a serious mistake” or even at times, “Doc, would you talk to my friend?” Often times, I air on the side of not offering any advice. (It costs to get this advice.) What do you guys expect me to say?
First of all, I think that infidelity is a sign of weakness. People who lack the ability to stay faithful to one person are selfish and inconsiderate.
I was at a panel discussion on relationships one time and we were not reaching any type of compromise so I just told the crowd, “In the world, there are nice people and there are evil people. The nice people would do so much better if they only socialized with each other and the evil people did as well. What we should focus on is revealing all the evil people so everyone knows to stay away from them and all of us nice people can go to our own side of the planet and live happily ever after.”
You’ll want to be careful about giving your friend advice. Make sure you are friends with people who have similar value systems as you. Your friends are a reflection of you and what you stand for. You must distance yourself from someone who is not trustworthy, people will begin to think you are too. Sometimes a vote of silence can speak volumes to your friend. When your friend comes to you to talk about their relationship or exploits, you can reply, “I seriously don’t want to comment on your relationships.” That will tip them off that they need to evaluate what’s going on there.
Finding out who they risking their relationship with can be critical to how you want to respond. Typically there are three types of people; Someone from the past, The Less Than Adequate, and the Guilty Pleasure. When you find out your friend is cheating on her current boyfriend with a guy from her past, you should let her know that she is hurting both of them. She is hurting her current boyfriend by not moving on and being an active participant of the new relationship and she is hurting the person from the past by continuing to string them along and bring them into the mess as well. Many people end up dealing with people they know they never could make their boyfriend, but they are everything but boyfriend material. Once a girl enters into a relationship she is reluctant to let this guy go because he really isn’t going anywhere and he has his perks. Again, this is not ok. The message I would deliver to my friend would be that she should remind herself of the reasons why she did not want to pursue a relationship with that guy in the first place. And that she shouldn’t risk her current relationship over someone who can’t replace what she has.
Her guilty pleasure is difficult to persuade her to stop. She rationalizes her actions. Maybe she tells herself that it’s okay because it’s only once and a while and it’s never the same person. (Every time I hear this, I begin to question if I’ll ever trust another woman.) Maybe she was on vacation and this one guy was very attractive and she just acted on her instinct and not being mindful of her relationship. I’m not sure what to say to these people, but what I would tell them is that if you are committed to having a long and healthy relationship, then you have signed up to be consistent. You have signed up that you want to be exclusive with someone and never jeopardize that. It’s a sign of weakness when you cheat, if we are assuming you hope to have a long and healthy relationship.
As a friend your main priority should be your friend. Sometimes, we begin to really like the person our friends are dating and we may even get on their side at times. But the main priority is our friend. Your friends should always understand that you are trying to make them better, not take away from them, or poke fun at them. If you’re friends don’t understand that then you are missing a good friend in your life. When confronting your friend be careful not to accuse, it’s better to ask questions and respond based on their answers. For example, “How are things going with you and Leroy? Oh… that’s interesting, I’ve noticed that you are also spending time with Tyrone, are you guys getting back together? I thought you and Leroy were an official couple now.” This can avoid your friend feeling pushed up against a wall. (However, if your friend is a complete ho-bag an intervention is never a bad thing.) Lastly, let me caveat this piece by saying that this could go either way, it’s not just about women, men do this too.
Coming soon on Couch Time with Dr. J: Why Your Friends Won’t Introduce You to Their Friends.