You and your bestie have been the best of friends for 13 years. You have been through everything together – to the proverbial hell and back. And now, suddenly, after all of these years – they are dating someone that you cannot stand. The sight of him or her makes your skin crawl, and you wonder what the heck it is your best friend sees in this person. And of course, since your best friend is ‘so in love’ with their new beau, and is constantly singing their praises while you are silently thinking of ways to off him or her without going to jail – it gets harder and harder to hide your annoyance. The last thing you want to do is ruin your friendship by admitting, “I hate your boy/girl friend,” but the truth is you just aren’t sure how many more movie nights you can take as the third wheel on the bicycle made for two. So what should you do? Wait it out and hope your friend comes to their senses. Make your feelings known at the risk of hurting your friend’s feelings? End the friendship?
The first thing that you need to do is decide whether you really don’t like the person, or are just feeling the tinges from the green monster that we all know and love called jealousy? It is perfectly normal for you to be feeling a tad jealous, or even left out when your best friend finds a new love interest. However, if jealousy is what is driving your inability to ‘like’ this person – you may need to give the guy (or girl) a second chance. Put aside your own feelings for a moment and try to be happy for your friend. If you need to take a short hiatus from the friendship so you can see things from a new perspective. It is also normal to feel threatened when your friend is in a new relationship. You might thing that they have forgotten you, or are spending so much time with the ‘new person’ that they have forgotten the bond the two of you have.
Of course, since you are being blinded by love and passion, you may have some valid complains and/or problems with your best friends new love. Maybe you see his or her selfish side. Perhaps you notice his or her flaws, or are sensitive to the fact that he is not being authentic to your best friend. As a friend, it is your natural instinct to want to protect your friend from being hurt. As an objective bystander, who is not under the spell of love – it is likely easier for you to see his or her faults. The hope is that in time, your friend will find out these things on his or her own. That eventually, they too – will get tired of seeing through rose-colored glasses, and will notice that this may not be the person they were hoping for.
Unfortunately, you are caught between a rock and a hard place. If you tell your friend your real feelings, you definitely risk upsetting your friend and putting the friendship on the rocks. Truth is, they will be hurt and upset and may even accuse you of being jealous. It may or may not start an argument. That being said, holding things in will cause you to act in a passive aggressive way, make snide comments – or avoid your friend altogether which can be hurtful, and can also damage the friendship.
Many experts would say that you should do your best to fake your feelings, unless violence or abuse is taking place. Is this person truly nefarious, or are you jumping the gun? If your friend is happy, then chances are as a good friend, you should be happy too. In the end, it is your friend that has to deal with the relationship, and it is your friend who has to decide for themselves whether this person is worth their time or not. Pushing them in one direction based on your opinions, is not just unfair, but can backfire. That being said, you don’t have to be ever present, and you should be able to maintain your friendship with your friend when they aren’t with the new love of their life. Explain to your friend that you treasure their friendship, and that you want to remain a part of their life and have some time alone to be together. This way, you don’t have to be around each and every time they are with their new love.
The most important job you have as a friend is to listen to your friend. Sure, they might gush on and on about how awesome their new love is. And at some point, they will need you to be a shoulder to lean on if the relationship goes astray. The last thing they want to hear is, “I told you so!” Certainly, you can admit that when the love bug hits, making decisions about the integrity of another person can easily be obscured by passion and emotions.
In the end, you can pick your friends but you cannot pick the people your friends love. Standing by their side through the good relationships and the bad is an important part of being a good friend. There is nothing wrong with being honest, but before you blurt out that so and so is a complete butt hole – you should make sure that you are coming from a place that truly wants to be helpful, rather than feels threatened. Your honesty in this situation, may or may not be welcomed – and you and you alone are the only one who can decide just how honest you can be without damaging the friendship.