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Bad News Beau

What You Shouldn't Say to a Pal Who's in a Toxic Relationship

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  • "I don't understand why you're with him."

    Statements like this one will automatically put your friend on the defense, making her feel as though she needs to justify her decisions to you. When it comes down to it, you don't have to understand why your friend is with a particular man. After all, he's her boyfriend, not yours. "Bear in mind that you don't necessarily have to like your friend's boyfriend, spouse or partner," says Levine.

    To avoid sounding accusatory out of nowhere, wait for the right moment to say what's on your mind. Yager suggests speaking up when your friend confides in you about the (perhaps not so great) realities of her relationship. "You can point out what she's just said and ask her what she would say if someone else shared that same information with her," she says. "Approaching it that way might help your friend to be less defensive about both her new relationship and about what's going on." However, she adds that if there is seriously questionable behavior going on, like verbal, emotional, sexual or physical abuse, then you should speak up right away. "You have more justification for giving your opinion, and giving it quickly, than if it's just a visceral dislike of someone."

Bad News Beau
What You Shouldn't Say to a Pal Who's in a Toxic Relationship
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