Your friend met a new guy, and she’s head over heels about him. He’s all she talks about, and she’s over the moon to have met him. You, as her friend, are happy for her — until, that is, you meet him. You want to scream “You can do so much better!” because you know this guy isn’t worthy of her time. But, the question is, should you? We can’t choose who our friends date, so is it worth speaking up?
For the sake of your friendship, it’s best to give the new partner a chance (or two… or three…), after all, your friend sees something in him or her, and the new partner could be nervous or slow to warm up. But if something still feels off, you might want to share what’s on your mind.
To Share or Not to Share?
Before you sit your friend down, ask yourself what your motive is. The new partner could be bringing up something in you, like memories of a previous partner of your own. That’s not a fair prejudice to have against someone new because your friend’s story is certainly not the same as your own.
Also, perhaps you simply don’t like the new guy — he’s annoying, messy, rude or has bad table manners — but that doesn’t really matter. You don’t have to have the same feelings for your friend’s partner as your friend does. That would probably not work out for the best. You just have to make sure your friend is safe, loved, and being well cared for. Unless you see red flags and have concrete examples, it’s best to keep quiet.
While you have your friend’s best interest at heart, remember that you don’t know what is going on in someone else’s relationship. Unless the relationship appears to be physically or emotionally abusive , this partner could become one of their closest confidantes. You’ll want to work with this person to invest in your friend’s happiness.
Healthy Outlets for Stress Around Your Friend’s Partner
Regardless of the reasons for your feelings, here are three things you can do to ensure your sanity and make sure your friendship survives.
Write it out
Instead of stressing out and continually roleplaying the conversation you want to have with your friend in your head, put pen to paper and write down your feelings. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, journaling helps control your stress symptoms and improve your mood. These are just some of the ways writing might help:
- Helping you prioritize problems, fears, and concerns
- Tracking any symptoms day-to-day so that you can recognize triggers and learn ways to better control them
- Providing an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviors
Take up a new hobby
Sometimes interacting in a group, focusing on a shared goal in a fun setting, is the best way to get to know someone new. And, while hobbies are often thought of as a nice-to-have, something for people who have a lot of extra time and lead quiet, relaxed lives.
On the contrary, those who are stressed, busy, or have a lot on their minds can benefit from hobbies the most, as they provide a slice of responsibility-free time that shifts your mind from a plethora of chaotic thoughts to only the task at hand. And, because hobbies usually incorporate some of your pleasures, maintaining them can be good for your overall sense of joy — so perhaps you’ll see your friend’s partner in a new light when they knock in the winning run on your softball team.
Talk to an unbiased third party
If you’re unsure of how to act on your feelings towards your friend’s partner, it can be beneficial to share your thoughts with fresh, objective ears, someone who doesn’t even know your friend. But, of course, going to another friend can be tricky. After all, friends tell you want you want to hear.
On the other hand, talking to a professional, licensed therapist can help you get to the root of your feelings and create an action plan for what you can do next. See this as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and process your thoughts — not just evaluate your friend’s new beau.
Continue to Support Your Friend, Even if You Don’t Vibe with Their Partner
It’s possible that no matter what you do, and no matter how many chances you give them, you still won’t be a fan of your friend’s partner. He or she may always have that annoying habit, weird sense of humor, or lack of ambition that bothers you.
Remember that it’s ultimately your friend’s call, and if they see value in that individual and are in a strong relationship, it’s best to let it be. It’s a tough situation, but if they stay together, as a friend, your job is to be there to offer your support regardless.