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How to tell your friend she's dating the wrong guy: 5 simple steps

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How to tell your friend she's dating the wrong guy: 5 simple steps

We can’t go anywhere without someone asking us, “How can I tell my friend-daughter-sister-niece-cousin she is dating the wrong guy?” We recently received an email 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 to make the biggest mistake of her life. She’s a brilliant researcher, a talented musician, and a wonderful friend. Her fiancé 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."

Katie’s response is typical. Women put their blinders on when it comes to men and shut out their friends’ comments and concerns…

Unfortunately, most women feel that they shouldn’t speak up. They’ve been burned when they tried to help before, and they don’t want to get burned again. We disagree. You must say something. You owe it to your friend or loved one.

Speak Up!

We are a community of women, and we need to be real and honest with one another. If you are a mother concerned about your daughter, the same is true for you. If you saw your daughter trapped in a speeding car headed for a cliff, would you stand by and watch, hoping and praying things would work out for her? Of course not! Think of her relationship as that speeding car. You must do everything within your power to stop her from crashing. Whether you are a friend or a relative, here are your options:

Option 1: Don’t say anything.

Result: You now have a not-so-real friendship because you have to pretend to be supportive of her choice in a husband. You make excuses for not wanting to spend time with them because he makes your skin crawl. You slowly drift apart, and the very thing you were trying to avoid (losing her as a friend) happens anyway.

Option 2: Tell her your concerns in a caring and compassionate way. (Details on how to do this follow.) What do you have to lose? Your friendship has already been impacted; just look at Option 1. Give her a little bit of credit, too. Don’t just assume she is going to drop you if you share how you really feel. What if it actually has the opposite effect? What if she were desperately waiting for someone to give her permission to call it off?…

Here’s how to have that difficult conversation. By approaching the conversation in this way, you might have a better chance of actually being heard.

Five Things You Can Do to Help Her See the Light

1. Speak up.
2. Validate, then activate.
3. Be nonjudgmental.
4. Shift the focus to you by using “I” statements.
5. Offer concrete help.

1. Speak up.
What do you have to lose? There is a good chance your friend will ignore you (or, even worse, end your friendship), 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 wrong guy, 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.

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