So, Your Friend Started Dating An Awful Person - What Can You Do?

Love has a way of blinding the wisest people. When we're still in the honeymoon phase of the relationship, we tend to idealize everything and let our feelings get the best of us. We attribute exaggerated positive traits to the person we're dating and overlook the red flags. It usually takes an outsider to see if the apple of our eye is really worth its weight in gold. 

Unfortunately, when our friends or family try to warn us or discourage us from dating someone, we tend to ignore the advice or put it on the back burner to our own detriment. When people are in love, they can be blind and stubborn at the same time. 

So, what do you do when you think your friend is dating an awful person? Your friend will never feel the same way as you as long as they're still in love. But as an outsider with a more neutral perspective, you're able to pick up on the negative colors of this casanova whom you know will break your bestie's heart. We're here for you with some tips to help you navigate this tricky situation.   

Ask yourself why you think the person awful

To begin, define an awful person. We each have a different idea of what an awful person looks like. Are they abusive to your friend? Do they have a history of lying or cheating? It makes sense to think the worst of someone when they've done something wrong to you or your friend. But if the person has done nothing that puts your friend's physical and emotional well-being at risk, you might be hating the person for no valid reason. 

Really take a look at what you dislike about this person. If you think they're not a good match for your friend or you're unhappy your friend is spending way more time with them than you, then the problem lies in you. It's normal to experience changes in friendship dynamics when your friend has a new love interest and neglects you. However, it's part of life, and in these cases, you should roll with it.   

Even if the person always has habits that repel you, such as burping all day long or texting and walking, your friend might not be bothered by it. Every relationship has its own gold standard, so it's not your place to impose your standard on others. As long as the people involved are content, you should leave them be and deal with your unpleasant feelings on your own. But if your concerns are due to something that could harm your friend, it might be time to speak up.

Get to know why your friend likes the person

If you dislike the person your friend is dating, try to find out what your friend likes about them. Maybe this person has some great qualities that you've overlooked because you're too busy clinging to your judgment. You can ask your friend to share more about the person's character, how they treat their family, and why they act a certain way. Maybe your friend's insightful sharing can answer some of your unaddressed concerns about their lover.   

Many times, what you see is not what you get, especially when you've just met someone. People's outward appearances may give a false impression of their true identities. Maybe this individual is shy by nature and struggles with oiling the wheels of social interactions, which is why they tend to appear reserved around you. But when they're in the presence of your friend, they come alive and get all chatty. Maybe they're always reeling off dumb, offensive jokes because they're very anxious about making a good impression on you. It's common for people to go out of their way to make a good impression only to wind up producing the opposite. 

If you believe that the first impression is the last impression, you'll never be able to see the true colors of people. It's impossible to make fair assessments of someone's character based on the first encounter. 

Take time to get to know them

There are various layers to a persona, and it takes time to peel back these layers to see who this person really is. To speed up this process, make an effort to bond with your bestie's significant other. 

One way to do that is to engage in group activities with them. If you're the active type, go on a trip, rock climbing, or quad biking with them. Activities that involve challenges and pressure can easily expose a person's true personality while bringing people closer. People who go through hurdles together tend to end up being good friends because they have shared emotional experiences. Not only do extreme activities promote bonding, but they also allow you to see for yourself how your friend's partner interacts with others and navigates challenging situations.  

If you still can't get along with your friend's partner after joining many activities together, you should at least be civil in their presence and supportive of your friend's relationship. 

Give your friend time to figure things out on their own

If your friend's sweetheart exhibits obvious warning signs of cheating or abusive behavior, refrain from telling your friend right away. Even when you have nothing but good intentions, unsolicited relationship advice isn't always received well and might invite misunderstanding into your own relationship with this friend. 

The best solution is sometimes to keep your observations to yourself, and let your friend figure things out on their own. You should only express your thoughts when your friend comes to you for advice about their relationship.  

If you're determined to make your friend break up with their partner, quietly gather evidence about their inappropriate behavior, so your friend will be fully convinced why they shouldn't be together. For instance, instead of vaguely accusing the person of adultery, gather evidence about their adultery (for example, they're secretly buying expensive gifts for someone or they're always sliding into the DMs of hot Instagrammers).

Share your opinions with your friend

If you believe that your friend is dating the wrong person and you can prove it, you should have a heart-to-heart chat with your friend. To lubricate the conversation, get an overview of the relationship by asking your friend how it's going. If your friend expresses her concerns, try to dig out more and slide in your information when you think it's right. 

When you talk about it, speak in absolute terms using specific examples instead of beating around the bush. You should also acknowledge that you might have misinterpreted what you saw, but you still stand by your observation and would want them to do the same for you. After sharing your observations with your friend, ask them what they think about it without offering any judgmental comments. While your friend is still processing the information, do not tell them to exit the relationship right away. Your job is to share your honest take and offer your support, the rest is up to your friend. Telling people to make a tough decision when they're already feeling uncertain about their relationship will make them feel more lonely. 

At the same time, keep your expectations realistic, and agree to let your friend disagree. No matter how your friend reacts to the information, reassure them that you just want to be helpful and will always be there for them.