I don’t usually care all that much who my friends date. As long as the person makes them happy enough, I recognize, that as adult in my 30s, it’s really not my business. Do what you want, yo! Relationships are weird and complicated and what works for someone may not work for me. Who am I to judge? I’m essentially laissez faire that way.
That being said, occasionally situations come up where a friend is dating someone who concerns me. When I say, concerns, I mean, I fear the relationship may damage/ruin/send my friend on a downward spiral. Not like oh, this person is unavailable and he/she will hurt you. More like, this person is a vampire who will destroy your life.
Sometimes the problem is overt, like once I had a friend who was in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship. She showed up for brunch with two black eyes and I had to tell her I disapproved of her relationship and that if she wanted to leave, I would help her, but if she stayed, I would have to cut off all contact with her. I ended up having to cut off ties. This was a painful thing to do, but in my opinion, it was a cut and dry decision. (In my 20s I tried to maintain a friendship with someone in an abusive relationship and it ended with the abuser calling me at work to threaten my life. No thank you. Never again.)
Things become exponentially more confusing when your friend is dating someone who is not overtly insidious. So, here it is: I have a friend who is dating a guy who walks her to dinner to meet friends. Who texts and calls 24/7. The guy even looked up my friend’s hairdresser on Facebook and sent a detailed email about how to cut my friend’s hair. Without her permission. My friend thought this was adorable. I did not. It gave me an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach. I think he’s showing signs of being controlling and possessive. It’s only been a few months, but I think things will continue to get worse. The effects of this relationship are starting to show. My friend has already lost a bunch of her close friends. My friend thinks this guy is “the one.” That she’s never been so in love. That when you know, you know. I’m seriously worried.
My friend is an adult, also in her 30s. She’s smart and successful. She is capable of making her own decisions, even if they are bad ones. But I also believe in being honest with my friends. I’m not going to blow smoke up her ass and be like, “Yeah, he sounds amazing,” if I firmly don’t believe that. On the other hand, I don’t feel comfortable opening the door of judgement. Her life is not in danger. And arguably, my only job is to be there for her as a friend. I’m torn. When I saw her for dinner last week, I sat there mute, not even sure what to say.
So I ask you: do I express my concern or just let her crash and burn and be there to pick up the pieces?