Yes, you want to encourage your lady friend to be strong, not to settle and to stand her ground when she’s had enough! No, you do not want to tell her to break up with her boyfriend. There is a fine line between being a supportive friend, and being the friend that causes drama. You want to be your friend’s biggest fan, not her stage mom. Here’s why you don’t want to tell your bestie to break up with her BF:
1. She’ll Feel Like She Was Pushed. When you tell your friend to do something and she does it, you run the risk of her being upset with you for convincing her to take actions she might have avoided without your guidance. This applies to situations involving tequila shots (“This round on me! DO. IT.”), hooking up (“He’s hot! DO. IT.”) and breaking up (“You’re better than he is! DO. IT.”). Even though your friend knows any choice she makes is her decision alone, you don’t want to be her “swing vote” or the voice in her ear prompting action when it may not be the right time or your place. Trust that she’s smart enough to know what to do when the time is right.
2. You’re Actually Causing A Problem, Not Solving One. Hey, Truth Patrol, this isn’t your job! Why don’t you just tell an old lady she’s about die soon? If you’re the impetus to your friend and her BF breaking up, you can actually derail any progress they might have had on their real issues by being the new issue that resulted in their split. You don’t want your friend to be citing one of the reasons for the breakup as “my friends don’t like you” or “my friend thinks…” We’re not 13. Let whatever trouble exists between the couple remain their own so that’s what they can focus on—not how you feel about it, Selfish.
3. If They Get Back Together, Your Relationship May Never Be the Same. Unless something catastrophic has occurred, such a bout of cheating or some other devilish behavior, there is a strong chance your GF and her BF will give things another whirl. And then your friend feels weird around you because she’s heard you repeatedly declare her boyfriend is “unworthy of her” in an impassioned rant after several glasses of wine.
A situation like this recently happened to me with one of my dear friends. Over the past few weeks, we had discussed boyfriend troubles she was experiencing, such as him not putting as much effort into their new relationship as she was and him not giving her as much attention as she needed to feel like he truly cared. We dissected various scenarios, I told her she wasn’t “crazy” for wanting the things that she did, and after telling me she had spoken to him about said behavior (using some tips from this Vixely video in particular!), I decided it was time for some friendly female empowerment! “Do you think you should stay with someone and angst over all this if you don’t think he can give you what you want, especially after you’ve talked to him about it? Don’t dwell on this! Focus on other things! Focus on your work, your friends—cultivate a fulfilling life! C’mon, let’s go get some fro-yo, then come back to your apartment, drink some wine and rearrange your Pottery Barn pillows on your couch.”
Now, did I say she should dump him? No, but I did ask rhetorical questions that would make a sane woman feel like she was spinning her wheels and want to take action. So…she dumped him! I was shocked! She felt great about it and said she just felt like she had “had enough.” “Oh my God! Good for you,” I said. And then two days went by and…they got back together.
She wrote an email to her friends letting us know that they’d talked things through and thanking us for our support, which I thought was the sweetest because I love knowing what’s going on with my friends at all times, no matter what it is. I called her to tell her I was happy for her, happy if she was happy and that I loved her standing her ground and communicating what she wants. She said she was slightly nervous to tell me they got back together, and I realized I might have overstepped my bounds as a friend offering support by prodding her into action. I explained that I am always on her side and just want the best for her, but that I would also never let a friend settle or doubt that they can get what they really want. Not on my watch.
My friend and her boyfriend are still together, and no matter what happens, I will (maybe less aggressively, but still with fro-yo and white wine) be there for her.