Help! My Best Friend Is Dating a Loser
5 ways to get brave and help your friend ditch that loser
-Jennifer Gauvain, MSW, LCSW
“Help! My best friend is dating a loser! What should I do?” As a therapist, that’s a question I hear again and again. Whether it’s friend to friend, mother to daughter, or a sister to sister — we’ve all been there. What do you do?
I recently got a phone call from a woman who was panicked about her sister’s upcoming wedding. “My sister Katie has lost her mind! She’s engaged to a total loser and is about the make the biggest mistake of her life. She’s a brilliant researcher, talented musician and a wonderful friend. Her fiance is out of work and has no ambition. Katie does everything for him. She cooks, she cleans, and she pays his bills while he sits around playing video games all day. I have shared my concerns but she says she loves him and that I simply don’t understand what a great guy he is.”
Unfortunately, Katie’s response is typical. Women put their blinders on when it comes to men and shut out their friend’s comments and concerns. Does that mean we should just keep our mouths shut? Absolutely not!
Do you think your friend is dating a loser? Here are five things you can do to help her see the light:
1. Speak up.
What do you have to lose? There is a good chance your friend will ignore you, but you owe it to her to say something. Yes, she might get defensive or it may damage your friendship. But think about it this way — if she does end up marrying the loser, your friendship will most likely be impacted anyway. Who wants to hang out with an unemployed video-game addict?
2. Validate, then activate.
It’s easier to see the truth from a position of strength rather than weakness. Start off by pointing out some of her best qualities. For example, “I have always admired your compassion for others; you deserve to be treated the same way.” Start with a compliment and she may be more receptive to what you are telling her.