So your bestie met someone. Yay! Whether you’re the coordinate your outfits ala Tina Fey and Amy Poehler types or the reading BFF books together sort, you probably know just how important the BFF and S.O. relationship dynamic is. But what if hanging out with their new boo isn’t going as smoothly as you thought it would be? Maybe you find their habits annoying, or just think your friend can do way better. After all, you only want the absolute best for them, and anything less won’t quite cut it. Unfortunately, it’s not really up to you to decide who your BFF dates. In the majority of cases, there’s not a whole lot you can (read: should) do, although there are a few situations in which it’s okay to put your foot down. We chatted with Wendy L. Patrick, PhD and author of Red Flags: How to Spot Frenemies, Underminers and Ruthless People, to find out when you should share your opinion with your bestie.
1. Figure out why you don’t like the new guy or girl. Okay, so you’re not down with the new boo. But why? Before you take any action, you’ve got to make sure you’re not feelin’ them for the right reasons. “Consider whether your dislike of the S.O. stems from your discontent over the loss of the time your best friend used to spend with you,” suggests Wendy. It’s totally reasonable to miss your bestie, but, “Resenting the relationship because you’re envious that you don’t have more time with them is not a valid reason.” On the other hand, “Expressing your feelings out of concern for your friend’s safety, whether physical or emotional (or both), is always a valid reason to speak up.”
2. Weigh how important it is to say something. Just because you don’t love your bestie’s new beau doesn’t mean you have to say something. In fact, there might be times when it’s better not to say anything at all. If you don’t like the S.O.’s taste in movies, fashion or you simply find them annoying, it’s best to keep quiet and hope it blows over. Try to focus on setting aside specific times to hang out with your BFF alone, away from their new partner, so you can still spend some quality time together. However, if you think the new boo has a pattern of putting down your friend, it might be time to speak up.
3. Consider how much longer the new S.O. is going to be around. Wendy notes that “Your decision about whether or not to speak up depends in part on the projected longevity of the relationship.” As in, if you don’t think they’re going to go the distance, it might not be worth saying anything at all. “You might choose to skip the drama if the pairing appears to be a case of superficial, summer, social fun,” she says. “However, if the two are looking long-term or headed to the altar, you owe it to your best friend to be honest.“ Again, only if you have something serious to say. You definitely don’t want to be criticizing the groom’s bad celeb impressions a few days before they take their vows.
4. Proceed with caution. If you’re going to go for it, approach the conversation in a calm, non-aggressive way. Remember that this is their love life, not yours. “Ease in with questions,” Wendy recommends. “We love talking about our significant others. So you might slide into the topic with softball questions, perhaps raising issues that cause you concern in order to explore their feelings and gauge how they are going to respond to your critique. Who knows — you might discover that they share some of the same concerns about their partner that you do.”
If you do choose to say something, make sure you consider what your friend might be feeling in that moment. “Remember that your best friend is wearing rose-colored glasses, and you’re wearing reading glasses,” says Wendy. As an outside party, it’s very possible that you see the situation more clearly than they do. Ideally, “They will thank you in the long run for providing input through a lens of objectivity.”
Have you ever told a friend you weren’t into their S.O.? Was it a mistake or did it pay off? Tell us about it @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)