Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 12.03.39 PMWe were having small talk when a scruffy-looking man with baggy jeans walked through the door. “Hey Té!” he chimed through crooked teeth. It was the slick-talking 30-something-year-old from around the way. He was jobless, and seemingly unmotivated. “That’s him,” my bestie confirmed. I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure my mouth was on the floor. All I remember thinking was: is this real life? Had my girl gotten that desperate? I just didn’t understand why she had chosen him; she knew his reputation. I eventually asked her what was going on, pointed out his flaws (bad idea, by the way) and expressed that I didn’t see her gaining anything positive from their relationship. She always defended him by highlighting his potential. We went back-and-forth like this for an entire year until I finally gave up. Long story short: they’re still together and our relationship hasn’t been the same ever since. While I don’t regret being honest with her, I do wish I had handled the situation differently. Here’s a list of a few things to keep in mind if you ever find yourself in my situation.

Give the significant other a chance.
Although my suspicions were dead on, I should have given him a chance to prove me wrong; I literally denounced him within a week of knowing him. I appeared irrational, immature and gave him a terrible impression of me. She immediately dismissed my opinions of him, as a result. I assumed she never wanted to hear anything negative about him because she was “stupid in love,” but she probably didn’t view my opinion as valid. “You never gave him a chance,” she would remind me.

Don’t give unsolicited advice.
If you weren’t asked to give your opinion, don’t volunteer it. It’s that simple. I would even go as far as advising you not to give your opinions at all because at the end of the day your friend will do what she/he wants to do. Am I right? All you can do is be there when he/she needs a shoulder. It’s important for you to…

Listen to your friend.
Sometimes people just need someone to talk to; someone to listen to them complain about things. Sometimes when people reach out they’re not necessarily asking for help, they just want you to listen. Odds are, they already know what they need to do to change their negative situation to a positive.

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  • paintgurl40

    Now that I’m older and wiser, I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut. Nobody puts a gun to their heads and makes them sleep with these men. They freely choose shit men and until they see it for themselves, nothing I say will matter. I just listen and bite my lip to keep from talking. I’m like an advice vampire, I don’t come in unless invited to. LOL

    • My grandmother gave me the same advice a while ago:
      “People really don’t want your advice, but rather a listening ear (and sometime just someone to agree with their perspective). Be sure to ask if they want you or opinion or not, just to be clear”

  • Tanielle

    This is easy. MIND YOUR BUSINESS!!! If someone ask you for your honest opinion give it at your own risk. Personally, I would turn the question back on them and ask why they were asking and what they might be struggling with (the therapist in me). I would never give my unsolicited opinion because that is rude, tacky, and low-class which are all things I strive not to be. I am responsible for my own feelings. If that persons significant other really rubs me the wrong way I would simply limit my participation in group activities. Politely decline when I can and suck it up and deal when I can’t because I value my friendship.

  • Michelle

    I love all of my sista-gurls. I really do love them. But when it comes to their love lives, they have the worst track record. They truly follow that famous Albert Einstein quote about insanity to a T. So, I simply don’t say anything.
    The funniest thing about it is the fact that they want my opinions. Every time. Even when I verbally rip into their boyfriends.

  • One of my college friends hated my now husband because he never wanted to go out drinking with us and partying. He’s really quiet and not very social. My complete opposite. She talked so much crap about him that we just stopped hanging out. She was one of my closest friends before that but she wasn’t even at my wedding.

    Sometimes it’s best to be quiet.

  • Probably the same way you did. I’ve learned the lesson of just being a friend and not giving unsolicited advice even when it is warranted. I just have to love and accept who they love as part of the deal and limit interaction with their S.O.